Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein is reportedly telling friends he's stepping down soon, and a quiet search is on for the person to replace him at one of Wall Street's most emblematic investment banks, The New York Times reports.
Officially, Blankfein isn't going anywhere despite rumors he is worn out from navigating the bank through the crisis.
But his successor will mark the path the bank will take, just as Blankfein's own appointment served as a weather vane for the bank's business direction.
Blankfein was the first to head the institution who didn't come from the investment banking unit; he was a commodities trader, and his rise symbolized the bank's growth into a trading powerhouse on top of traditional investment-banking roles such as handling mergers and acquisitions.
"This has been an exhausting period," says Roger Freeman, a financial analyst at Barclays Capital, according to the Times. "It would not be a surprising time to see a change."
Three contenders to replace Blankfein — if he steps down — include company veterans Michael S. Sherwood, who oversees a big chunk of the bank's international business, Michael Evans, chairman of Goldman’s Asian business, and Gary D. Cohn, Goldman’s president and chief operating officer, the newspaper adds.
The bank, meanwhile, is taking criticism from Michigan Senator Carl Levin, who says the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission should examine whether Goldman Sachs mislead clients who bought collateralized debt obligations without knowing the firm would benefit if they fell in value, according to Bloomberg.
"In my judgment, Goldman clearly misled their clients and they misled the Congress," Levin says, Bloomberg reports.
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