Blankfein to hand Goldman Sachs reins to Solomon

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein speaks at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum on September 20, 2017 in New York City. Heads of state and international business leaders met to discuss global issues and challenges to economic growth. The inaugural year of the forum was held concurrently with the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Lloyd Blankfein, the long-time CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs who steered the bank through the financial crisis, will retire on Sept. 30 after 12 years leading the Wall Street behemoth, the bank announced Tuesday.

As was widely expected, Blankfein, 63, will be replaced by the current President and Chief Operating Officer David Solomon, the bank said in a statement.

“My job has also allowed me to engage with many of the most impressive business leaders around the world and I thank them for allowing me to help support their goals and priorities,” Blankfein said in a press release.

“David is the right person to lead Goldman Sachs. He has demonstrated a proven ability to build and grow businesses, identified creative ways to enhance our culture and has put clients at the center of our strategy,” he added.

The succession is part of a major generational change happening on Wall Street, where the last days of the pre-crisis CEOs are getting counted. Only Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, remains among the major banks.

The Bronx-born Blankfein, who once sold hot dogs at Yankee Stadium as a boy, rose to CEO at the end of 2006 after first turning down a job at Goldman to work as a commodities trader at a rival firm, J. Aron & Co.

Goldman eventually bought the firm, and Blankfein rose to lead the company after the last CEO, Henry Paulson, left the bank for the Bush administration.

Blankfein’s tenure was mixed. He steered the bank through the financial crisis, and Goldman ended up paying about $5 billion in fines for its role in selling bad home loans — far less than rivals JPMorgan and Bank of America.

Still, it was under his leadership that the bank got labeled as the “vampire squid” of Wall Street — in part for deals where they structured deals designed to sour for unwitting investors.

Blankfein opened up the bank to consumers and generally oversaw its dominance in mergers and acquisitions, but has struggled to keep its massive bond trading operation in line for the last three years.

In 2016, bank analyst Dick Bove said Blankfein was responsible for a “lost decade” thanks to a relatively flat share price.

The bank’s shares shot up soon after, thanks to the election of Donald Trump and the rush of Goldman alumni to the White House — including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and even ex-communications chief Anthony Scaramucci.

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