By Lauren Tara LaCapra and Jennifer Ablan
Feb 5 Jim O'Neill, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc
executive who coined the term "BRIC" to refer to four
fast-growing emerging markets, will retire later this year,
according to an internal memo sent out on Tuesday.
O'Neill, chairman of Goldman's asset management division, is
an economist by training who joined the company in 1995 as a
partner in the roles of co-head of Global Economics Research and
chief currency economist, said the memo, which was signed by
Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein.
He is perhaps best known for coming up with the BRIC acronym
in 2001, which identified Brazil, Russia, India and China as top
emerging markets where investors could put their money for high
returns. O'Neill, known as Mr. BRIC on Wall Street, proclaimed
that those emerging economies, China's in particular, would help
drive markets and world economic growth for the next decade.
O'Neill, 55, once described as the world's first rock star
economist for his talent on predicting movements in the $1
trillion-a-day foreign exchange markets, continues to be bullish
In a 2012 year-end report, O'Neill said China "has, for now,
reached a soft landing." He added that the economy appeared to
have bottomed mid-way through the third quarter, and real gross
domestic product growth in the 7.5 percent to 8.5 percent
vicinity seems like a reasonable starting basis for thinking
O'Neill's calls have been broadly accurate, except for his
belief that the world economy was not in trouble during the
In the memo, Blankfein said: "Jim is an influential
economist and thought leader, and is regarded as an expert in
the world's foreign exchange and bond markets."
The role of chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management was
created for O'Neill when he joined the division in 2010 and
there are no plans to replace him, a spokeswoman said. Tim
O'Neill, no relation, and Eric Lane will continue to co-head the
O'Neill is not only known for his BRIC thesis.
In 2010, a group of wealthy Manchester United fans known as
the Red Knights, which included O'Neill, tried to buy the soccer
team for 1 billion pounds, arguing that the team's value was in
Manchester United, whose shares have surged after a poor
start when they were offered on the New York Stock Exchange last
year, is now valued at $3.3 billion, a report on Forbes's
website said in January.
What's more, Manchester United, which is controlled by the
Glazers, a family better known in the United States as owner of
the National Football League's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is in first
place in the English Premier League.
When asked if his retirement would free him up to go to more
Man U matches, O'Neill, a lifelong United fan who grew up in
Gatley, responded via email: :)