Goldman Sachs Credit Sales Co-Head Shaffer to Leave Year-End

Aug 20, 2014 4:49 pm ET

(Updates with league tables in last paragraph.)

Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- John Shaffer, a former Penn State University quarterback who’s spent more than two decades on Wall Street, is departing Goldman Sachs Group Inc. as co-head of New York credit sales.

Shaffer, 49, will leave at the end of the year after joining in 2007 as a managing director, according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg News and confirmed by Tiffany Galvin, a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman.

Avanish Bhavsar, head of cross-asset sales, and Jon Meltzer, who’s now co-head of investment-grade, high-yield and municipal bond sales, will become co-heads of U.S. credit sales, according to another internal memo.

Goldman Sachs has shuffled its sales leadership as trading revenue fell 12 percent in the first half of the year, the fifth consecutive first-half decline. The New York-based firm this month named Stacy Bash-Polley, 45, to lead management of its client relationships across trading.

Meltzer and Bhavsar, who will also continue to oversee cross-asset sales, will report to Tom Cornacchia, 51, global co- head of sales for fixed-income, currency and commodities. Salespeople typically call on trading clients to pitch products and ideas and help manage orders.

National Championship

Shaffer, who previously worked at Merrill Lynch & Co. for 17 years, was known to customers and traders partly because of his background as a football player for Penn State. In 1986, he quarterbacked the team to a 12-0 season, winning the national championship with a 14-10 victory over the University of Miami in the Fiesta Bowl in January 1987.

He said that playing on the team under Joe Paterno was tougher than working on Wall Street, according to an October 2011 article.

“That pressure, that competition I tried to replicate on Wall Street, but I just couldn’t,” he said at the time.

He joined Goldman Sachs as head of the high-yield and distressed sales group and was named to his current role in 2012, according to one of the memos.

In 2010, Shaffer was promoted to partner, Goldman Sachs’s highest rank, in a nod to its history as a private partnership before going public in 1999. Meltzer and Bhavsar were also named partners four years ago.

Goldman Sachs is the fourth-most active underwriter of U.S. corporate bonds this year, up from fifth last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.