Olly Robbins, the former civil servant who was Theresa May’s chief Brexit negotiator, is leaving Goldman Sachs and joining corporate intelligence firm Hakluyt, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Robbins, who was May’s chief EU negotiator from 2017 until 2019 and became a bogeyman for Eurosceptics, is leaving the US investment bank after little more than three years.
His departure from Goldman Sachs — where he is a managing director within the investment banking division — is unrelated to the sweeping lay-offs that chief executive David Solomon is pushing through, the people said.
At Hakluyt, Robbins will be responsible for leading the coverage of corporate clients in Europe and the Middle East. Under managing partner Varun Chandra, Hakluyt is attempting to move beyond its traditional remit of gathering intelligence via an expert network and into the higher-margin business of being a trusted adviser to large corporations and private equity firms.
Hakluyt and Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Robbins did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to his LinkedIn biography, Robbins had been covering a range of Goldman’s UK clients, “across sectors including aerospace and defence, airlines, energy, consumer, utilities, business services and broadcasting”.
His ability to transfer his detailed knowledge of the EU and Brexit to the bank’s clients appealed to Goldman Sachs.
Hakluyt was founded in 1995 by a group of former MI6 UK intelligence officers. Muhtar Kent, former Coca-Cola chief executive, and Douglas Flint, ex-chairman of HSBC, are among the business leaders who sit on its international advisory board.
The move to Hakluyt suggests Robbins is not planning an immediate return to government. When he joined Goldman, people close to Robbins told the Financial Times that they suspected he would return to the civil service after several years in the private sector.
Before joining Goldman, Robbins served as the inaugural “Heywood fellow” named after the former cabinet secretary Jeremy Heywood who died in 2018.
Heywood interrupted his civil service career by spending three years as a managing director at the UK investment banking arm of Morgan Stanley, a move that Robbins echoed by joining Goldman Sachs.