Meet the front-runner to replace Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein

David Solomon Set to Succeed Blankfein as Goldman CEO as Rival Steps Down

Just days after the Wall Street Journal reported that Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein is preparing to step down by the end of the year, one of the two main candidates to succeed him is out.

Co-chief operating officer and co-president Schwartz will retire on April 20, according to a statement. With the formal announcement of the move on Monday, Solomon's chief rival for the job, Harvey Schwartz, abruptly announced his resignation.

Mr. Solomon, 56, 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. "Harvey has been a mentor to many, and his influence has made an indelible impact on generations of professionals at Goldman Sachs".

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein grew up in public housing in the East New York section of Brooklyn.

Schwartz came up through Goldman's trading business, where he played a central role during the 2008 financial crisis.

Vertical Group analyst Dick Bove, who sharply criticized Blankfein's leadership of Goldman, said selecting Solomon would position the bank for new opportunities amid changing U.S. policies on taxes, trade and potentially fiscal stimulus.

"I look forward to continuing to work closely with David in building our franchise around the world, serving our expanding client base and delivering strong returns for our shareholders", Blankfein said in a statement. In 2009, Schwartz' department made more than $33 billion for the bank.

"The increased transparency also likely puts insiders more at ease so that they can focus on running Goldman Sachs", UBS Group AG analyst Brennan Hawken wrote in a report Monday.

Picking Solomon is consistent with Goldman's growth plan outlined last fall in which it emphasized greater investment banking presence in the middle market, as well as stepped-up operations in asset management and newer ventures in online banking, said Wang.

Solomon has also taken on a leading role in the firm's diversity push, including presenting ideas to the board last June.

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