Tim Dattels, head of Asia (ex-Japan) investment banking at Goldman Sachs, is being moved to a newly created position overseeing operations in Menlo Park, California. His transfer, which is part of a larger reshuffle at Goldman Sachs, comes at the end of a successful period for Dattels, who moved to the Hong Kong office in 1996.

Michael Carr, co-head of  mergers and acquisition business in the Americas, will replace Dattels in Hong Kong. An internal memo says that the appointment "highlights our specific emphasis on having talented, senior leaders gain experience leading businesses outside of their home markets". 

Under Dattels, the bank moved up to the number one spot in the league table for merger advisory business in 1998 and 1999. Goldman Sachs has also performed well on the equity side for the past couple of years, but like many other investment banks some recent IPO failures in the internet sector may have tarnished its slate.

Asiacontent.com, which was offered in April just as the Nasdaq began to nosedive, is down 78% on its IPO pricing of $14, and Taiwanese broadband company Gigamedia, which the bank took to market in February at a price of $27, is down 60%.

Difficult days

There have also been some high level problems for Goldman Sachs during the past 6 months. The IPO of Petrochina was a severely testing time for Goldman as demonstrators sought to derail the deal with the most orchestrated campaign ever waged against an IPO. Similarly Goldman faced censure in Japan for its handling of the controversial IPO of Dutch internet company World Online. One Ministry of Finance official suggested that Goldman should be not included in future privatizations of NTT - the Japanese telephone company. Nevertheless, Petrochina is trading 50% up on its IPO price and the Japanese official who suggested Goldman should be removed from future NTT deals, Satsuki Katayama, has been promoted to a policy evaluation unit of the Ministry of Finance. Katayama later denied ever talking about a ban on Goldman.

Goldman Sachs is heading back into the Asian internet arena with iAsiaWorks, a pan-Asian internet service provider that will likely be Carr's first IPO in his new job. iAsiaWorks announced that it has filed an application with Nasdaq and has proposed an initial public offering of nine million shares of its common stock. The price range is expected to be between $13 and $15.

Goldman Sachs is the sole bookrunner and joint lead manager of the offering. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter is acting as joint lead manager and Salomon Smith Barney is co-manager.