Like a lot of top Wall Street banks this year, Goldman Sachs has seen an exodus of top talent. International asset manager Suzanne Donohoe's departure for Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. in February led off a month-long spree of announced exits, including the retirement of top media industry banker Joseph Ravitch (at just 47) and William Wicker, the energy segment partner and managing director, who left for a vice-chairmanship at Morgan Stanley.

One goodbye that really caught attention was that of Byron Trott, vice chairman and managing director of the bank's Chicago office. News broke in March that the 50-year-old Trott, best known as a trusted advisor to billionaire Warren Buffett's, was leaving Goldman to form BDT Capital Partners, a merchant bank in Chicago that will launch with $2 billion in capital and aims to buy into family-owned enterprises for its well-heeled clients. (Buffett will be among them, but Goldman sources confirm he will also retain his relationship with the firm in which Berkshire Hathaway has a $5 billion preferred stock investment).

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