Goldman CEO Blankfein says has 'highly curable' form of cancer

Tue Sep 22, 2015 5:24pm EDT
 
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By Olivia Oran

(Reuters) - Lloyd Blankfein, the chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc, said on Tuesday he had a "highly curable" form of cancer and would be able to work mostly as normal during treatment.

The veteran Wall Street boss, who steered the U.S. investment bank through the financial crisis, told employees and shareholders he would undergo chemotherapy for lymphoma over the next several months in New York.

The bank's shares finished down 1.98 percent at $179.72 a share on the New York Stock Exchange, underperforming a weaker wider market, as the announcement put Goldman's succession plans under the spotlight.

While Blankfein, 61, is undergoing treatment, other senior bank officials, including his top deputy, Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn, will assume some of his responsibilities in dealing with the public, a person familiar with the matter said.

Cohn, who is seen as the most likely successor to Blankfein if he left his post in the near future, replaced his boss at the last minute at a public discussion in New York on Monday night.

The company has a number of long-serving senior executives, including Vice Chairman Michael Sherwood, investment banking co-head David Solomon, Chief Financial Officer Harvey Schwartz and Chief Strategy Officer Stephen Scherr, who investors said offered stability.

"The culture of the firm transcends one person," said Mike Donnelly, senior vice president and portfolio manager at CS McKee, which manages $10.5 billion in assets and owns Goldman shares.

"Obviously, Blankfein has done a great job and embodies the culture, but in terms of this changing the investment thesis given the valuation, no, absolutely not."   Continued...

 
Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO, Lloyd Blankfein, delivers remarks at the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women/State Department Entrepreneurship Program at the State Department in Washington, March 9, 2015.    REUTERS/Gary Cameron