Goldman Sachs boss Blankfein 'planning to exit' as early as year-end

It's a possibility following today's news that Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs since 2006, will be retiring as soon as the end of this year.

The stock price of Goldman Sachs was up 1.5% on the news and near its high for the day.

Blankfein has led the bank for 12 years and steered it through the 2008 financial crisis.

Blankfein is one of only a couple big Wall Street CEOs who ran their firms before the financial crisis and still are at the helms today.

Schwartz made partner at Goldman Sachs in 2002 and became co-head of the Americas Financing Group within the investment-banking division. Solomon and Schwartz have been jockeying to succeed Blankfein for months.

The time has finally come.

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The biggest decision facing Schmidt prior to this one was his replacement for Chris Farrell. His natural talent, however, is undoubted.

After long insisting conditions would eventually reverse, management a year ago outlined a plan to change the nature of Goldman's trading business by targeting new customers and launching new products, drive more revenue from units such as investment management and push further into consumer lending, a relatively new business for the bank.

CEO Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs.

Blankfein in his later years has become more outspoken about his views. "I have enormous confidence in our ability to deliver superior returns to the shareholders over the cycle, as I believe we have".

According to the WSJ, the current thinking is that Blankfein will leave either ahead of or early into the company's 150th anniversary year in 2019.

Solomon and Schwartz were appointed to their roles in late 2016 after the firm's longtime president Gary Cohn left to join Donald Trump's administration.

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