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Goldman Sachs' top tech exec explains how a fresh slew of senior hires are transforming the bank's approach to building products

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  • Goldman Sachs has hired three MDs and two fellows for its technology and engineering teams since the start of the year.
  • Marco Argenti, Goldman Sachs' co-chief information officer, spoke to Business Insider exclusively about what the hires mean for the current talent landscape and the bank's future plans.
  • "They are absolutely at the center of our strategy," Argenti said of technologists and developers at Goldman. 
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Staffing up might not be a top priority for many companies under the current circumstances, but one of Wall Street's most tech-focused firms has managed to keep its pipeline open for new senior tech talent.
Goldman Sachs has added three new managing directors and two fellows, not to mention dozens of more junior employees, to its tech team since the start of the year as the bank aims to keep its position on Wall Street's technology vanguard.
The hires also speak to the vision of Marco Argenti, Goldman Sachs' co-chief information officer, who joined in October after six years at Amazon Web Services and has been working to shift Goldman's approach to focus on outside developers and more customer-friendly products.
Dylan Casey, Mika Mannermaa, and Rahul Sharma were all hired this year as MDs within the bank's tech and engineering division. Casey, who joined in January, will serve as head of product within engineering while Mannermaa, who came aboard the following month, will be focused on privacy and cloud for small and medium enterprises. Meanwhile, Sharma, who started on April 20th, will run identity and access management.
As for tech fellows — full-time employees considered technical specialists — Anssi Alaranta was brought on for developer experience for small and medium enterprises while Aruna Kalagnanam, who started on Monday, is heading up architecture for transaction banking.
Many of the new hires come from non-banking backgrounds, largely from the likes of Amazon Web Services, Yahoo, Google, IBM, Microsoft, and Nokia. Their pedigree matches that of Argenti and Atte Lahtiranta, Goldman's recently-hired chief technology officer, who joined Goldman in October after spending time at big tech companies like Verizon's media group, Yahoo, and Nokia.
Some also come with interesting accomplishments outside the tech world. Casey, for example, competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in cycling and rode alongside Lance Armstrong on the US Postal Service pro cycling team.
Goldman's ability to continue drawing talent from big tech companies is a testament to the interesting work being done on Wall Street, Argenti told Business Insider in an exclusive interview, his first since joining the bank. With the maturity of traditional tech companies, the digital transformation many banks are currently going through represents a prime opportunity for technologists to be involved in key projects, he added.
"That is extremely attractive because you're now feeling that you are at the forefront of the business," Argenti said. "You are not one level removed the way you provide technology for someone that then, in turn, is on the front line of the business. You are actually on the front line."
And despite their short time at the bank, both Argenti and Lahtiranta have be vocal about the big plans they have for the future of Goldman's technology, including global financial clouds and how to attract outside developers to work with the bank.
"The technologists feel that they are in the front seat and our message has been that developers are in the front seat," Argenti said. "They are absolutely at the center of our strategy."
The firm's tech-first ideology is one that's been echoed by CEO David Solomon since he took the helm in 2018. Argenti said Goldman's recruiting has been bolstered by Solomon's December talk at the annual AWS conference, where 60,000 developers and clients convened in Las Vegas. 

Product management takes center stage

Goldman's recent hires also provide some clues to how it thinks about technology and how it plans to position itself in front of clients. For example, Casey's role of head of product is not one commonly found at a bank.
"A lot of banks have been very internally focused with software for many years," Argenti said. "Now as you actually start building the financial cloud, start to build products that are targeted to external developers, targeted to end consumers, etc., those product management skills are absolutely necessary and absolutely crucial."
From Marquee, the bank's trading and risk-analytics platform, to the Apple Card, which is backed by Goldman, there are no shortage of products geared toward external customers. Even its transaction banking business, which just announced its first partnership, with SAP, in March, is another example of a customer-facing technology product. 
All of that requires a different way of thinking about technology, Argenti said, which is why roles like Casey's are important to fill. 
"Applying the methodology of working backwards from the customer. Really understanding who is the customer and what is the problem that you're trying to solve. Really drilling down on, how do you measure if you're solving the problem or the opportunities that customers presents in front of you. And doing it before write your first line of code," he said.
SEE ALSO: A memo from Goldman Sachs' co-CIO laid out plans for a global financial cloud for customers that could be 'transformational to the firm's business for decades to come'
SEE ALSO: Read the memo Goldman's new tech chief sent to 9,000-plus engineers explaining why they should ditch PowerPoint in favor of Amazon's famous narrative memos
SEE ALSO: Goldman Sachs is putting its own Marquee app on Amazon's cloud in a pitch to lure more fintech developers
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* This article was originally published here Press Release Distribution
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