The Business On: Jim O'Neill, Goldman Sachs

Click to follow
The Independent Online

So the leading 'Red Knight' is back to his day job?

Apparently so. Jim O'Neill was one of the leading lights in the group of wealthy City types that some of the more naïve Manchester United fans thought would usher in a promised land of unlimited cash for Sir Alex Ferguson – compared with the mountain of debt that has had to be serviced under the Glazer family. The trouble was, the Glazers had no interest in selling, so it's back to Goldman Sachs for Mr O'Neill.

Doesn't seemed to have hurt him all that much though

Well no. The leading "Red Knight" has just been handed a big promotion. He's been named chairman of Goldman Sachs' asset management division. The newly created role will see the US investment bank's chief economist helping to oversee $802bn (£520bn) of assets.

Presumably this means they rate him quite highly

Yes. But then, Mr O'Neill had a pretty high profile in City circles long before he was briefly side-tracked by an attempt to ride to the rescue of a club that was apparently doing rather well without his help – three Premier League titles and a Champions League for starters. He was famous for coining the term "Bric" – Brazil, Russia, India, China – in a research note. It denoted the world's new economic powers and has proved prescient.

So the green and gold brigade are stuck with the Glazers

Looks that way. They can broadcast their defiance by wearing the colours of the old Newton Heath (and today's Norwich City) if they want, but the blades of the Red Knights have been blunted and they're all back at their desks doing what they do best: making millions for themselves.

And the future for Mr O'Neill?

It's onwards and upwards. In his new role, based in London, Mr O'Neill will still be publishing all that influential research but will also develop investment strategies for Goldman Sachs Asset Management clients. He won't make enough to buy Man U at the end of it, but with his career trajectory, maybe an Oldham Athletic wouldn't be totally out of reach.