Trump taps Goldman Sachs executive Cohn
for key economic post
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[December 13, 2016]
By Tim Ahmann and Olivia Oran
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect
Donald Trump on Monday said he would appoint Goldman Sachs Group Inc
President and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn to head the White House
National Economic Council, a group that coordinates economic policy
"As my top economic adviser, Gary Cohn is going to put his talents as a
highly successful businessman to work for the American people," Trump
said in a statement.
Cohn will follow former senior Goldman executives Robert Rubin and
Stephen Friedman, who ran the council in the Bill Clinton and George W.
Bush administrations, respectively.
The council post, which helps to coordinate and develop the president's
economic agenda, can also be seen as a stepping stone to other
government jobs. Rubin led the council before becoming Treasury
Cohn, 56, is just one of a number of former Goldman executives who are
slated to join the Trump administration and advise on the economy,
including Treasury secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin and White House
adviser Steve Bannon.
"We will miss Gary at Goldman Sachs, but I believe the American people
and the President-Elect are fortunate that he has chosen to serve his
country," Goldman Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein said in a
Cohn had long been regarded as the likely successor to Blankfein, but
that view has dimmed in the past several years as Blankfein, 62, showed
no signs that he would step down in the near future.
Cohn's departure now raises fresh questions about who might succeed
Blankfein in the long run, while potentially giving rise to a new group
of leaders at the bank.
Unlike other Wall Street firms that have had significant turnover in
their upper ranks, Goldman's leadership has remained remarkably stable
over the years. Some Goldman executives have privately complained that
this has created a bottleneck for the next generation of leaders.
[to top of second column]
Gary Cohn, President and Chief Operating Officer of Goldman Sachs,
speaks at the Ending the Experiment event in the Swiss mountain
resort of Davos, Switzerland January 22, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben
It is likely that Cohn's role as Goldman's president may be split,
Reuters has previously reported. Chief Financial Officer Harvey Schwartz
and investment banking co-head David Solomon are likely candidates,
according to people familiar with the matter.
Such a move could return Goldman to a co-president, co-chief operating
officer structure. Cohn had previously served alongside Jon Winkelried
in this arrangement, until Winkelried's departure from the firm in 2009.
Cohn is a former Goldman commodities trader from Ohio who joined the
firm in 1990. He served in a variety of leadership roles in bond
trading, becoming co-head of Goldman's broader securities division and
then co-president in 2006.
(Reporting by Timothy Ahmann in Washington and Olivia Oran in New York;
Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Phil Berlowitz)
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