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WSJ: Lloyd Blankfein Could Leave Goldman By End of the Year

By NexChange
Capital Markets

Lloyd Blankein is planning on stepping down as chief executive of Goldman Sachs “as soon as the end of the year,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

If and when Blankfein ends his 12-year tenure as CEO, the firm plans “a quick transfer of power and isn’t looking beyond Goldman’s two co-presidents, Harvey Schwartz and David Solomon, to replace him,” sources tell the Journal. Blankein, 63, reportedly shared his thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of both Schwartz and Solomon at a February board meeting, but the Journal notes that he hasn’t indicated a preference for either one yet.

Blankfein could also change his mind about stepping down and “is firmly in control of his exit,” according to the Journal; but the expectation “is that he will retire ahead of or early in Goldman’s 150th anniversary year in 2019.”

Mr. Blankfein has often joked he will die at his desk, and his enthusiasm for the job has led many within the firm to believe he might outlast another set of would-be successors. Gary Cohn joined the Trump administration after tiring of life as Mr. Blankfein’s understudy. That set off the promotions of Messrs. Solomon and Schwartz and a new chapter in Goldman’s succession planning.

That planning effort has intensified of late, people familiar with the matter said, as expectations have risen among top executives and board members that the clock has started ticking on Mr. Blankfein’s tenure.

Blankfein joined Goldman’s commodities unit in 1982 and was named CEO in 2006 after Henry Paulson was named Treasury Secretary by President George W. Bush. His two potential successors – Schwartz and Solomon – have been with Goldman since 1997 and 1999, respectfully.

Mr. Schwartz, 53 years old, is a karate black belt who ran Goldman’s trading division before becoming chief financial officer. Mr. Solomon, 56, is a hard-nosed investment banker who DJs on the side. Their promotions 15 months ago reignited the race for one of Wall Street’s most-coveted jobs.

It’s unclear whether Solomon will continue to DJ on the side if he is named the next CEO of Goldman Sachs.

Photo: World Economic Forum

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