Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., smiles during a discussion at the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Summit in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Goldman CEO Said Likely to Step Down in December, NYT Says

(Bloomberg) -- Lloyd Blankfein will probably step down as Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s chief executive officer in December, the New York Times reported, citing people familiar with the firm’s plans.

David M. Solomon, who was named president in March, will take the top spot, the newspaper said. While Blankfein is likely to depart around the time of the bank’s annual dinner for alumni, the timing could still change, the Times said.

Goldman Sachs set the stage for its next era in March by naming Solomon, 56, as sole president under Blankfein, picking him over Harvey Schwartz as heir apparent for the CEO spot. That’s spurred questions of when the handoff will take place. Blankfein has said publicly that Solomon would benefit from more time in his current role, but that the change would likely happen before Blankfein himself was ready to move on.

The Wall Street Journal reported in March that Blankfein, 63, would depart as early as this year. Blankfein tweeted in response that it was the newspaper’s announcement, “not mine.” Solomon said last month in a CNBC interview that there was no timeline for succession.

Mike Mayo, a bank analyst at Wells Fargo & Co., said in a Bloomberg Television interview Friday that he met with Blankfein last week and “he’s certainly still running Goldman Sachs.”

“We thought that this transition might take place the next year,” he said. “It’s something to certainly monitor. Goldman Sachs is still a Wall Street powerhouse and changes like this can make a difference.”

The bank has already felt the ripple effects of the expected succession. Schwartz left in April after serving as co-president with Solomon since Gary Cohn’s departure in 2016. Goldman said this week that two its three trading co-heads, Pablo Salame and Isabelle Ealet, will leave next month.

“Leadership transitions always generate a lot of ill-informed speculation, but the simple fact is that no decisions have been made,” said Jake Siewert, a spokesman for New York-based Goldman Sachs.

Shares of the bank fell 0.9 percent Friday in New York trading.

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