Kent Clark, a longtime leader at Goldman Sachs who was instrumental in the growth of the bank’s hedge fund platform, died on January 27. He was 58.
In a memo to employees on Monday, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said that Clark’s death was the result of a tragic accident that occurred earlier this month.
“Kent was a wonderful leader, a friend to everyone he met, and a respected expert in the industry. He will be greatly missed,” Solomon said in his note.
Clark was instrumental in the expansion of Goldman Sachs’ open architecture hedge fund platform and heavily influenced the firm’s global alternative investments and manager selection business, Solomon said. Outside of the bank, Clark was a thought leader who published research articles in The Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, The Journal of Alternative Investments, and other publications.
Neuberger Berman CEO George Walker said that Clark, his former colleague, was “renowned as the biggest brain at Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Strategies Group,” and that his insights and diligence led to terrific risk-adjusted returns for clients over long periods of time. “But what we will remember most is his extraordinary kindness, patience, and generosity. He was genuinely beloved throughout the investment industry,” Walker said.
“The only thing that matched his towering intellect was the warmth of his heart,” said Chris Kojima, a partner and the global head of client solutions and capital markets within Goldman Sachs Asset Management. “Knowing him has been a true and lasting gift. But today we’re all completely heartbroken.”
Clark was “friendly, humble, welcoming — kind of the opposite of so many you encounter in the hedge fund space,” said Andrew Williams, a partner at the public relations firm Brunswick Group and one of Clark’s former colleagues at Goldman Sachs.
Cliff Asness, managing and founding principal at AQR Capital Management, first met Clark in 1988 while they were both studying at the University of Chicago. From the minute he met Clark, Asness knew he was different.
“It’s hard to find the right words. Mensch. Old-school gentleman. Class act. They all help get at it. But I have to say, besides being obviously brilliant, Kent was just the best human being I knew in the PhD program, at Goldman Sachs, and possibly in my whole life,” Asness said. “Anyone who knew Kent trusted him in the extreme, liked or loved him (or both), and knew he would give them the proverbial shirt off his back. And they were right to feel that way. He was the real deal, and I for one will join the large group that already misses him terribly.”
Clark joined Goldman Sachs in 1992 as an associate on the quantitative equity team and never left. In addition to his work with hedge funds and other achievements, colleagues said he played an active role in helping the bank become more diverse and inclusive, including serving as a leader for professional groups focused on Black and Asian employees. He retired from Goldman Sachs in 2020 after 28 years.
Dedicated to the arts, Clark also served for many years as a trustee and member of the investment committee at the Juilliard School in New York.
He earned a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of Calgary and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and he also reached candidacy in the PhD program in finance at Booth.
Clark is survived by his wife, Helen, and his children, Stuart and Stephanie. Kent’s current and former Goldman Sachs colleagues plan to establish a fund in Kent’s name at the University of Chicago.
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