Inside the Race for the Top Job on Wall Street

After college, Mr. Schwartz got into finance. His first day on a trading floor was Oct. 19, 1987. The stock market plunged 22 percent on what came to be known as Black Monday. He remembers a colleague crying.

“If you’re around that environment, I don’t know anybody that couldn’t be sensitized to the cyclical nature of the markets,” Mr. Schwartz said. It left him with a permanent sense of jitters over how easily capital can be destroyed.

.. “He’s always been a good shepherd internally in terms of managing risk and balancing that with clients’ interests,”

.. Mr. Schwartz is cautious and can be tightly scripted. As a general rule, he waits 48 hours to collect his thoughts before addressing someone who has really annoyed him.

Some colleagues say he has a tendency to “mark to market” his underlings — meaning that, in accounting terms, he assesses their value to his objectives and treats them accordingly. That has frustrated some people.

.. In the early 1990s, Mr. Solomon joined Bear Stearns, where he helped run the bank’s junk bonds division, working with bankers and salespeople to devise and sell higher-risk bonds. At one point, he helped a Dallas movie theater company, which was struggling to finance its expansion into Mexico, raise money through a complicated bond transaction.

.. In 1997, Mr. Solomon worked alongside Jon Winkelried, then the co-head of Goldman’s bond division, on a deal to raise money for the Venetian resort in Las Vegas. Mr. Winkelried was impressed with Mr. Solomon’s handling of the deal and offered him a job running Goldman’s leveraged finance team, again raising capital for companies through higher-risk bonds. It was a rare instance of Goldman hiring an outsider and awarding him the rank of partner.

.. “I thought he was on the leadership track at Bear,

.. Once, he showed up to pitch for the Lululemon Athletica initial public offering wearing a maroon jacket and long sweatpants made by the brand. His colleagues were similarly outfitted. “Everyone on the other side of the table is in suits and ties,” Mr. Solomon recalled. “It threw people off.” Goldman won a lead role on Lululemon’s I.P.O.

.. Mr. Solomon also leaned on executives in Goldman’s human resources office to hire far more women. Given the nearly even split in society, he argued, there was no reason that Goldman’s ranks should not be equally balanced between men and women. He has taken that message on the road, too.