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Solomon next in line to replace Blankfein as Goldman CEO

Harvey Schwartz, his rival for the top post, will leave the bank on April 20, and Solomon will serve as the sole president and chief operating officer

Gulf News

New York: Goldman Sachs Group Inc said David Solomon will become sole president of the company, elevating him over Harvey Schwartz as the eventual successor to chief executive officer Lloyd Blankfein.

Schwartz will leave the bank on April 20, and Solomon will serve as the sole president and chief operating officer, the New York-based bank said in a statement Monday. The firm’s board discussed the idea of choosing a single COO under Blankfein at a meeting in February and settled on Solomon, according to a person with knowledge of their discussions.

The question of Blankfein’s successor has been a topic of debate across the financial industry since Friday, when the Wall Street Journal reported that the CEO would step down as early as this year. Blankfein later tweeted that the announcement wasn’t his. Monday’s statement didn’t mention a timetable for his retirement.

“I look forward to continuing to work closely with David in building our franchise around the world,” Blankfein, 63, said in the statement.

Direct competitors

Solomon and Schwartz have been directly competing for a shot at the top job since being promoted to co-presidents in late 2016, after Gary Cohn left to join Donald Trump’s administration.

Solomon, 56, a former investment banker, has been boosted by the strength in that business, where Goldman Sachs posted record revenue in 2017. The firm’s fixed-income trading business, which produced Schwartz, is coming off its worst year in more than a decade.

“We saw the future as more of an investment-banking future than a securities or trading future and that favoured Solomon,” Charles Peabody, a Compass Point Research & Trading analyst, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

Solomon rose through the financing business after joining as a partner from Bear Stearns Cos and ran the firm’s top-ranked investment-banking business for a decade. He has also taken on a leading role in the firm’s diversity push and initiatives to improve working conditions for young bankers. The part-time disc jockey, who attended Hamilton College, is also a wine collector and an avid skier.

Schwartz, 54, was the firm’s chief financial officer after helping to run its trading business. In September, he unveiled the bank’s plan to boost revenue by $5 billion (Dh18.36 billion) in three years.