Goldman Sachs Gives First-Year Legal Chief $17.5 Million (2)

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.‘s legal chief Kathryn Ruemmler received roughly $17.5 million in total compensation after being appointed its top lawyer a year ago, the firm disclosed in a proxy Friday.

Goldman paid Ruemmler $7.9 million in cash last year, including $1.5 million in base salary and a $6.4 million bonus, the proxy showed. Goldman gave her a stock bonus valued at $9.6 million, the firm said in a disclosure separate from its compensation table.

Goldman, led by David Solomon, tapped Ruemmler to succeed its former legal chief Karen Seymour. Ruemmler had joined Goldman in early 2020 as its global head of regulatory affairs after serving as a litigator and co-chair of the white-collar defense and investigations practice at Latham & Watkins in Washington.

Ruemmler, a former White House counsel in the Obama administration, took over as chief legal officer and general counsel after the company admitted to its role in a massive bribery case involving the Malaysian investment fund 1MDB.

Goldman made a $2.5 billion payment to the Southeast Asian country as part of a settlement of multiple investigations in 2020. Roger Ng, a former Goldman banker, is currently on trial in a federal court in Brooklyn over his alleged role in a fraud that prosecutors claim also involved fugitive financier Jho Low.

Seymour, Ruemmler’s predecessor and a fellow litigator, left Goldman last year after receiving a $9 million pay package in 2020. She returned to a partnership at Sullivan & Cromwell, a frequent legal adviser to Goldman, which hired Seymour in 2018 to replace its longtime legal chief Gregory Palm.


Goldman’s proxy in stating the firm’s rationale for Ruemmler’s compensation cited her “responsibility for executive oversight” of its “1MDB-related mediation program,” as well as her advising on a “variety of legal, reputational, and regulatory matters.”

In leading Goldman’s legal division Ruemmler handles litigation and enforcement strategy and oversees the firm’s compliance division and conflicts resolution group.

Ruemmler spoke out earlier this month about the Justice Department’s approach to white-collar crime under the Biden administration. She currently owns Goldman stock valued at roughly $713,000, according to Bloomberg data.

In December, fellow former Sullivan & Cromwell partner Darrell Cafasso left his role as head of litigation and regulatory proceedings at Goldman to become a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe in New York.

Cafasso, Seymour, and Goldman were all hit with a retaliation lawsuit in late 2020 by a former in-house lawyer at the company who accused them of covering up sexual harassment.

That case, sent to arbitration in early 2021, was subsequently dismissed last summer, and it remains unclear whether the dispute was settled out of court.