Former Goldman Sachs president Harvey Schwartz is in talks with Carlyle Group Inc. to become the private equity firm’s next CEO and has emerged as a top contender for the job, according to people familiar with the matter. 

Carlyle board members and shareholders have discussed Schwartz’s candidacy in recent weeks, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. No final decision has been made and the board has yet to vote. Schwartz, 58, didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment and a Carlyle representative declined to comment.

Schwartz worked at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for more than two decades, rising to become chief financial officer and later co-president and co-chief operating officer. He left the New York-based bank in 2018 after David Solomon was chosen as CEO.

His arrival at Carlyle would resolve a long-running succession challenge at the Washington-based firm. Co-founder Bill Conway, 73, has been serving as interim CEO since August, when Kewsong Lee, 57, resigned after a power struggle.

Whoever ultimately gets the job will have to steer a company beset by leadership churn and competing spheres of influence, while persuading shareholders that they have a clear growth plan. 

Carlyle, the smallest of the top four public U.S. alternative-asset managers by market value, built its brand as a private equity heavyweight as Conway and fellow founders David Rubenstein, 73, and Daniel D’Aniello, 76, parlayed their government connections into deals, wealth and power. Over the years it added new business lines to diversify beyond buyouts. 

Lately, however, Carlyle has struggled to regain the influence it once had after repeated leadership changes.  

In 2014, the firm brought in Michael Cavanagh from JPMorgan Chase & Co. as a potential successor, but he left a year later to join Comcast Corp., where he’s now president. Then Carlyle named Lee and Glenn Youngkin co-CEOs, an experiment that proved short-lived. Youngkin left in 2020 and is now Virginia’s governor.

In his short tenure as sole CEO, Lee made acquisitions to expand Carlyle’s revenue streams and overhauled its credit unit to make it a bigger pillar of growth for the firm. The rapid expansion inflamed tensions between credit and buyout dealmakers. Executives worried his changes and decisive manner undermined the firm’s cohesion.

The board, which had been debating whether to tap an external candidate or hire from within, recently considered a shortlist of candidates that included credit head Mark Jenkins and private equity investment chief Pete Clare.