Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) plans to add 300 workers to its fast-growing office in Salt Lake City, Utah, by the end of the year, Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein told employees at a town hall meeting there on Tuesday, according to a Goldman staffer who was present.
The increase would bring Goldman's workforce in the city to 1,600, the attendee cited Blankfein as saying. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
Blankfein, 57, was in Salt Lake City to meet with Mayor Ralph Becker and Utah Governor Gary Herbert, and also to make his first visit to Goldman's downtown office.
Goldman spokesman David Wells confirmed Blankfein's visit but could not immediately verify the figures.
Goldman first opened a Utah office in 2000, but has been expanding there rapidly since entering a tax break deal with the state in 2009.
Goldman will receive an estimated $47.3 million from Utah over a 20-year period in the form of a 30 percent tax rebate, according to Governor's Office of Economic Development.
In exchange, the bank agreed to maintain at least 1,065 employees in Salt Lake City and pay them at least 150 percent of the average local county salary.
That equates to a minimum average salary of about $65,000 a year, though the state says Goldman pays local employees $80,000 a year, on average. That figure is still a fraction of the $432,001 annual salary the average Goldman worker brought home across its entire operation since 2009.
Salt Lake City is one of the few areas where Goldman has been expanding staff levels recently.
The bank cut 2,400 jobs in 2011 as volatile market conditions and new regulations crimped profits. But it hired hundreds of employees in Utah, where it had about 700 workers before the tax agreement.
Goldman Chief Financial Officer David Viniar visited the office in October for a similar town hall meeting, as did Dane Holmes, Goldman's head of investor relations, two weeks ago, the attendee said. Utah officials including Becker and Herbert have also met Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn during a trip to Goldman's office in Lower Manhattan, according to three people present at the meeting.
(Reporting By Lauren Tara LaCapra; Editing by Richard Chang)