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Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Goldman CEO prepares to exit as soon as year-end

Goldman CEO prepares to exit as soon as year-end

Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein has started plans to retire and could do so as soon as the end of this year, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The 63-year-old Blankfein joined Goldman Sachs' commodities division as a gold salesman in 1982.

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.

Blankfein's potential upcoming exit from the firm leaves Harvey Schwartz and David Solomon, who are the firm's co-presidents, as the most likely candidates to be his successor, according to the Journal.

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The rough-and-tumble banking powerhouse was "doing God's work", Blankfein later said of that time. Goldman also received an infusion of $5 billion in financing from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

Blankfein, who has been Goldman's CEO and chairman for roughly 12 years, has always been rumored to be considering his retirement prospects. Mostly he has doubled down on the trading and risk-taking that otherwise fell out of favor across much of Wall Street.

Even with its business challenges, Goldman has remained one of the most profitable big USA banks in terms of core earnings relative to shareholder equity.

Despite its woes, Blankfein has long-maintained that fixed income is in a cyclical slump - rather than a permanent decline - and Goldman has not followed some of its rivals by retreating from any business lines. "I think it would be a good change for the firm".

The bank, and its leader, have only grown in notoriety in recent years. The move comes days after chief economic advisor and former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn announced his resignation from the Trump administration. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, of which Goldman is a component, is set for a 1.9% gain. Cohn resigned from his position on Tuesday following Trump's steel tariff proposal.

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