Is Lloyd Blankfein Planning Exit From Goldman?

Sean Reid
March 10, 2018

The CEO remains in control of the timing of his exit, the Journal reported.

Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs (GS +1.4%), plans to step down by the end of this year, according to reports. Blankfein will probably retire ahead of the bank's 150th anniversary in 2019, or early that year, the paper reported. Goldman then named Harvey Schwartz and David Solomon as co-presidents and co-chief operating officers in December 2016, increasing speculation that Blankfein could be stepping down.

Blankfein has stitched together a patchwork of new initiatives: a consumer bank, a heightened focus on lending and more resources for asset management, including a suite of exchange-traded funds.

Gary Cohn, who previously was Goldman's chief operating officer, left a year ago to become chief economic adviser to President Donald Trump. Bank of America, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo have all replaced their CEOs over the years. Cohn was one of the key architects of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which received nearly universal praise from Wall St. executives, including Blankfein.

Goldman Sachs shares briefly dipped but recovered to a 1.4 percent gain at 2:31 NY.

Solomon is an investment banker and advisor with an impressive track record who's worked directly with some of Goldman Sachs' most important clients. He rose through the ranks and eventually got the top job when Hank Paulson left to become treasury secretary under President George W. Bush in 2006.

He's had the job for 12 years, and steered the bank through the 2008 financial crisis. After making it through his cancer treatments, he said working served as a lovely distraction. Solomon and Schwartz have been jockeying to succeed Blankfein for months. All who remain are Blankfein and Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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