(Corrects final paragraph to show 1.8 millon is number of
shares, not dollar value)
* Schwartz to take on CFO role at end of January
* Viniar to join board of directors
* Other independent directors to be named soon
By Lauren Tara LaCapra
Sept 18 Goldman Sachs Group Inc has named
senior trading executive Harvey Schwartz to replace David Viniar
as chief financial officer, the latest in a series of executive
shuffles as the investment bank prepares for a change in top
Schwartz, 48, is among a small group of executives who are
considered potential candidates to take over as chief executive
when Lloyd Blankfein eventually steps down.
When Schwartz starts his new job at the end of January, he
will replace the longest-serving CFO on Wall Street.
"He is incredibly qualified for the position," said Jason
Graybill, a senior managing director at Carret Asset Management,
which owns Goldman bonds. "These banks are not in the go-go
growth modes they were in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s."
"It's a merit-based promotion and sort of a next-generation
promotion," said a Goldman source who knows the top executives
at the firm. "Harvey's definitely on the short list of people
who could be CEO one day," said the source, who declined to be
named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Blankfein's eventual departure as CEO has been a subject of
speculation for months. Over the past year, Goldman has been
cutting staff to manage costs while moving younger bankers and
traders into senior roles.
Goldman President Gary Cohn has long been viewed as a
favorite for the job, but other executives including vice
chairmen J. Michael Evans and Michael Sherwood, investment
banking global co-head David Solomon and Schwartz have all been
mentioned as possible contenders.
Blankfein has said that while he has no intention of
stepping down in the near-term, he already has a candidate in
mind to take over his job.
Viniar, 57, will join Goldman's board of directors as a
non-independent director after the transition.
The bank currently has 10 directors including Blankfein,
Cohn and Stephen Friedman, who ran Goldman while it was still a
private partnership. Goldman said it also expects to name
independent directors to its board soon.
SUBPRIME SHORT SELLER
Schwartz joined Goldman in 1997 after a stint at Citibank.
He was named managing director in 1999 and partner in 2002.
Two other executives, Pablo Salame and Isabelle Ealet, share
the title of global co-head of securities with Schwartz. Ealet
was promoted to that position in January when previous co-heads
David Heller and Edward Eisler retired.
Roger Freeman, a bank analyst with Barclays Capital, said
Schwartz has been more visible with analysts and investors in
recent months. His position as co-chair of Goldman's Steering
Committee on Regulatory Reform will mesh well with Schwartz's
new responsibilities as CFO, he said.
Sources familiar with the matter said Viniar had been
planning to retire for at least two years, but stayed with the
firm during various government investigations and high-profile
controversies including the public resignation of an employee in
a newspaper op-ed in March.
Viniar, known as one of the most shrewd risk managers in the
business, was instrumental in developing Goldman's strategy to
short subprime mortgages in 2007. It helped the bank avoid the
multi-billion-dollar losses that felled rivals, but led to an
avalanche of public criticism.
He is also known for having been virtually unflappable in
the face of investigations that followed.
At a Congressional hearing in 2010, Viniar was asked about
an email describing in a vulgar way a trade Goldman structured
for clients. He did not show regret about the substance of the
message, but instead responded, "I think it is very unfortunate
to have that on email."
Viniar is among the best-paid executives on Wall Street. He
earned $15.8 million last year and held 1.8 million shares of
Goldman as of March 26, according to a proxy filing.
(Reporting by Lauren Tara LaCapra and David Henry in New York;
Editing by Daniel Magnowski)