Goldman Sachs Clears the Way for a Succession Plan

Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein speaks at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York. – AP

Harvey Schwartz, one of the bank's two presidents and chief operating officers, is retiring next month, the bank announced Monday.

David Solomon will serve as sole President and Chief Operating Officer of the firm upon Harvey's retirement.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein was expected to retire and the bank was not looking beyond presidents and co-chief operating officers Harvey Schwartz and David Solomon to replace him.

In the bank's statement, Blankfein thanked Schwartz for his work at the firm. He has served a dozen years at the top of Wall Street's most powerful firm.

The unexpected announcement that Schwartz will retire eliminates a presumptive CEO candidate with a strong trading background and comes as Goldman Sachs has been trying to reinvent itself after market trends and regulations sapped profits from its once-lucrative trading business.

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Before taking the co-COO role, Solomon had been a cohead of investment banking in NY for a decade.

Mayo predicted that the CEO transition would happen next year, during Goldman Sachs' 150th anniversary as a firm, when he said the firm should be better positioned for Blankfein to exit on top. "The need for investment banking and lending from large financial institutions will grow", Bove said.

Leon expects that Goldman will make a formal announcement before the end of the year on a new chief executive, probably Solomon.

It will also help squash the public parlor game over who will succeed Blankfein, which has drawn repeated headlines about the competition between Schwartz and Solomon. Today, Goldman's share price is up 0.7% as of this writing. He later took over the bank's investment banking division, where profits doubled and revenue rose 70% during his tenure. Solomon also led a study about improving the quality of life for Goldman's junior bankers, resulting in new limits on weekend working hours, the report said.

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