SAN FRANCISCO – As warm as life may seem, Tammy Kiely may seem at the first meeting, she is no stranger to the drama.

After nearly 20 years at Goldman Sachs, Kiely, global head of semiconductor and automotive banking, helped buy and sell multi-billion dollar companies, helped by the collapse of transactions in the wars of international trade and on behalf of semiconductor giants such as Qualcomm, Micron. and Nvidia.

She is one of the most influential women in the investment banking and semiconductor industry, both known for their follow-up and predominantly male boards of directors. And she is very much appreciated by the companies that hire her.

The subtleties of Kiely's day-to-day work hit the headlines in March 2018 after President Donald Trump blocked San Diego-based Broadcom's hostile takeover on behalf of Qualcomm at $ 117 billion. dollars, on the ground that it had been acquired. a threat to national security.

Qualcomm had been engaged for 17 months as part of its efforts to acquire its Dutch competitor NXP for $ 44 billion, an agreement blocked in expectation of regulatory approval from the Chinese government.

"There was a time when if we did not talk to them every day, we would be a little perverse," Kiely said in an interview at Goldman's headquarters in San Francisco. (Near the entrance to California Street Tower is a 200-ton black granite sculpture by Masayuki Nagare, ironically nicknamed by local people as "The Heart of the Banker".)

In June, still waiting for the blessing of China, Qualcomm decided to cancel everything. Then, in December, at the time of the policy, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Trump that he would approve the Qualcomm deal when he met him again.

After months of absence, Qualcomm announced that the agreement with NXP was officially canceled and Goldman lost the majority of its fees on this multi-year deal of $ 44 billion.

"Regulation is a primary consideration in M ​​& A negotiations right now," said Kiely, citing the diplomatic debacle. "Mergers and acquisitions of semiconductors would have been more numerous this year if the regulatory and business environment had not been respected."

No art, just engineering

Kiely stands out as one of the most influential women in the investment banking industry. She was a partner at Goldman in 2014, and this fall she was promoted to Client Relationship Manager for All Technology, Media and Telecommunications, alongside Banker Kim Posnett.

According to a 2017 demographic report, at Goldman Sachs, which famously replaced a white bald CEO in October, only 21.6% of executives and executives were women.

In semiconductors, the straits are just as serious.

Lisa Su, President and CEO of Advanced Micro Devices, is the only female CEO in the industry. Nvidia, whose suite C is relatively diversified thanks to the financial director, Colette Kress, and the executive vice president, Debora Shoquist, has a council composed of 18% women. Competitors like Intel and Qualcomm are only getting slightly better.

Although the statistical probabilities may be against her, Kiely is right.

"I grew up with semiconductor data books on our coat.We had no art, it was daddy 's engineering," said Kiely. Hollis Johnson / Business Insider

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Kiely was first introduced to the world of semiconductors by her father, who designed the military power supplies.

"I grew up with data books about semiconductors on our coat.We had no art – it was Daddy 's engineering," she said. .

After graduating from California Polytechnic State University, an engineering school three and a half hours from San Francisco, she was an auditor at KPMG, where she worked closely with semiconductor companies. conductors.

From there, she went to Stanford's Graduate School of Business, "with the desire to gain more experience on Wall Street," she said, before landing a full-time job at Goldman after graduating.

Today, between two trips to Asia and Europe, Kiely still lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two teenage sons, one of whom is autistic.

"My children and my family are extremely important to me – it's a big part of who I am," said Kiely, adding that her schedule was helped in part by her husband, who works as a psychologist at the Bay.

"He listens well, and he has been an excellent partner for me in terms of family management and absent non-parents," she said.

200,000 miles a year

If you're looking for Kiely, she's probably on a plane. She estimates she travels about 200,000 miles a year, thanks to weekly flights and monthly trips abroad. Her routine is to sleep on board a plane, to take meals at her usual California schedule and to take the time to run – wherever she is.

In the past, many of these trips were to Taiwan. But in 2018, the trade war between the United States and China put the semiconductor agreements in the region on hold. She focused more on Japan, with occasional trips to Europe and Israel.

The consolidation of semiconductors, which used to be an oil fund for bankers like Kiely, was no longer what it was. While acquisitions in the chip industry peaked at $ 107.3 billion in 2015, transactions of just $ 23.2 billion were completed in 2018, according to the firm. IC Insights.

IC Insights concluded that 65% of these transactions totaled $ 23.2 billion: the acquisition of Microsemi Corp. by Microchip Technology, on behalf of JPMorgan and Qatalyst Partners, for $ 6.35 billion, and the $ 6.7 billion acquisition by Integrated Device Technology, by Renesas Electronics. JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch Bank of America and Mizuho Securities have been working on.

Goldman does not win all contracts. According to Dealogic, he ranked fourth in the semiconductor industry mergers and acquisitions rankings.

Nevertheless, Kiely and his team managed to make deals. The bank announced three deals worth approximately $ 9.1 billion. And, which may be an even greater accomplishment in this period of regulatory fragility, they have also entered into certain transactions, including the sale of Toshiba's chipset division to Bain Capital for $ 18 billion and the sale of the chips. acquisition of Cavium by Marvell for $ 6.1 billion.

Classification by class of semiconductors in ebb and flow for many reasons. Not all consulting roles are merger and acquisition work, and long-term attempts, such as Qualcomm's $ 44 billion attempt to acquire NXP, have failed. And 2018, in particular, was a short year for Kiely – she left the bank for two months when she was thinking of leaving for Morgan Stanley (for more information about this later.)

Yutong Yuan / Business Insider

Despite strong competition, Kiely's customers said that its tenacity and strong network gave it an edge.

Kiely "does not have to prove that she's the smartest person in the room, you're doing it alone," said Cathy Lego, a career director working for Cypress Semiconductor and Lam. Research.

Lego, who met Kiely for the first time ten years ago, said at one point that they were simultaneously working on three different contracts. "I'll be working with her again tomorrow," she says.

"The banking sector is full of ego and people who boast about the work of other people.It's just not that person," Lego said. "It's the beauty of working with Tammy.You just know that she's doing her job, she's not shooting a bunny off her hat all the time."

Yutong Yuan / Business Insider

John Daane, former CEO and President of Altera, worked closely with Kiely around 2015, while negotiating the company's $ 16.7 billion sale to Intel.

The negotiations lasted six months and activist investors were involved. Kiely and his team have therefore become an essential "committee of his" for the Altera board, which has led much of the negotiations.

Daane, who left Altera after his acquisition, said that he remained close to Kiely and that he was meeting with the Goldman team several times a year to stay in touch and discuss the world of half-lives. finals. It's a particularly close relationship in an industry where things can feel – literally and figuratively – transactional. "I really enjoyed it," he said.

In Daane's eyes, this commitment to building relationships with customers is one of Kiely's strengths in his work.

Prior to its sale to Intel, Altera was not a priority for many bankers. She did not acquire other businesses, she was profitable and did not need loans. "We were a company that would not usually be as attractive to a banker," Daane said. But Kiely was persistent and wanted to stay on Daane's radar.

"What was unique about Tammy was that she was very proactive in developing a relationship with clients," he said. "In talking to everyone in the industry, she knew what everyone wanted to achieve and what combinations made sense."

She's not a reality TV star

Only a few months ago, it was not obvious that things are gold at Goldman.

Morgan Stanley, as part of its efforts to expand its own footprint in the sector, poached Kiely in early 2018, after 19 years with the bank's competitor.

Kiely said that after spending so many years in one place, she was attracted to change. She then filled her office and changed her LinkedIn status to "Amateur Gardener", a reference to a common practice in finance when an employee takes paid leave in the months prior to joining a competitor so as not to be in the height. date the knowledge with them. Kiely left Goldman Sachs for Morgan Stanley early in 2018, but changed his mind after a month off. Hollis Johnson / Business Insider But everyone did not get the reference.

"I had a reality TV show that contacted me, trying to do a reality TV show about gardening," said Kiely, who managed to grow beautiful pumpkins during her free time. "They thought I had an interesting background to talk about my garden."

But instead of joining Snooki or Chip and Joanna Gaines, Kiely booked a family vacation in Japan. She got tickets for a conference on autism so she could find out more about her son's needs.

And then a month after leaving Goldman, she agreed to go home.

"In summary, I spent 20 years at Goldman. Honestly, I would never have thought about being a banker as long, but I really like my job," said Kiely. "It's really easy to leave some of the little troubles that every job has to do to you, and I would say that this month, for me, was good to step back and regain some perspective. "

Now, intact prospect, all that remains to be done is to win more bids.