To mark the 150th anniversary of Goldman Sachs, documentary filmmaker Ric Burns chronicles the firm’s history from its founding after the Civil War up until today. Through in-depth interviews with leaders of the firm past and present, the films explore the evolution of Goldman Sachs and the global economy across a century and a half of growth, change and innovation.
Part 1 – Beginnings – 1869
In 1869, a 48-year-old German Jewish immigrant and one-time street peddler named Marcus Goldman with no background in finance hangs out a sign that reads “M. Goldman, Broker and Banker” at 30 Pine Street. Over the next five decades, what started as Goldman’s tiny family-owned partnership would rise to become one of the most innovative and enterprising banks on Wall Street.
Part 2 – Hubris – 1929
After Henry Goldman’s departure from the firm, the seven remaining partners reach outside the family for the first time for a leader. Over the next decade, as the stock market climbs, Waddill Catchings would lead the firm into ever more daring financial schemes – culminating in the crash of 1929 and financial catastrophe for the firm.
Part 3 – Recovery – 1930
In the years following the crash, two factors would make it possible for the battered firm to regroup: the unswerving commitment of the Sachs family to stay the course; and their decision to entrust the firm’s future to a high-school dropout named Sidney Weinberg. For the next four decades, the firm’s fate would be linked to his career.
Part 4 – Changing Times – 1969
In 1969, leadership of the firm would pass to Gus Levy – who had arrived three decades earlier, working in the trading department. In the decades to come, Levy – one of the first traders to head a major investment bank – would rise to become one of the greatest innovators in American finance.
Part 5 – Takeoff – 1976
A hundred years of history would come together in the leadership of the two men who succeeded Gus Levy in 1976 as co-senior partners of Goldman Sachs: John Whitehead and John Weinberg. Both men saw the vast potential for growth in a changing economy and how the firm would have to change to grasp that potential.
Part 6 – Going Global – 1989
Under the continued co-senior partnership of John Whitehead and John Weinberg, Goldman Sachs expands dramatically overseas for the first time in its history – beginning in London and extending across the European continent.
Part 7 – Going Public – 1999
In the spring of 1999 – after 130 years as a private partnership, and following nearly a decade and a half of internal debate and sometimes painful soul-searching about the nature of the firm’s underlying structure – Goldman Sachs, now under the leadership of Hank Paulson, becomes a publicly-traded company.
Part 8 – Around the World – 2000
In the decade following its initial public offering, Goldman Sachs undergoes the greatest period of growth and change in the history of the firm.
Part 9 – Crisis – 2008
In 2008, Goldman Sachs, now led by Lloyd Blankfein, confronts the worst financial crisis since the Crash of ’29 – altering the landscape of investment banking around the world.
Part 10 – Going Forward – 2019
Goldman Sachs reaches its 150th anniversary year, with David Solomon now leading the firm into a new era filled with opportunities, challenges, responsibilities and possibilities for innovation and change.
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