Investment Banker, Deceased Person
1910 – 1976
Who was Gus Levy?
Levy was born in 1910 in New Orleans, one of three children of Sigmund and Bella Levy. Levy briefly attended Tulane University before dropping out, moving to New York City, working various jobs in the financial sector, and then joining Goldman Sachs in 1933 to head the one-man trading department for a salary of $27.50 a week. He remained at Goldman Sachs for rest of his career and rose to senior partner in 1969. Levy was known for his tremendous energy, short temper, intelligence, and generosity.
Between 1933 and 1969, Levy headed Goldman Sachs' trading department and pioneered new trading strategies such as block trading. Being from the trading department, he was naturally banking-oriented. Upon retiring in 1969, the highly banking-oriented Sidney Weinberg had some reservations about leaving Levy in charge but ultimately decided to appoint Levy as senior partner but also introduced the eight-man "management committee" system to supervise Levy.
During Levy’s reign as senior partner from 1969–76, Goldman Sachs experienced tremendous growth, arguably more so than during Weinberg's reign, but also encountered some major controversies, such as the Penn Central bankruptcy commercial paper scandal, which tarnished the firm's reputation for several years to follow and cost the firm's partners tens of millions in litigation and legal settlements.