Goldman Sachs Group Inc. unexpectedly announced on Monday that Harvey Schwartz, the company’s COO, will retire from the bank, leaving David Solomon as sole president and CEO and the most obvious successor to Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein.

The question of who will lead next lead the iconic Wall Street firm appears to be getting close to an answer.

Solomon will become the sole president and chief operating officer of the bank as of April 20,    the company said on Monday. The decision was made in February.

Schwartz and Solomon were named co-COO in December 2016 in a setup that appeared to pit the two against each other to eventually lead what is viewed as the most powerful U.S. investment bank.

The Wall Street bank’s board had discussed choosing a single COO at a meeting in February as part of on-going succession planning and decided on Solomon, a person familiar with the matter said.

Speculation over the next leader had intensified after Blankfein, 63, was expected to retire as soon as this year and the bank was not looking beyond Schwartz and Solomon to replace him.

That solidifies Solomon as the no. 2 behind Blankfein. A power transition would likely be quick and the bank “isn’t looking beyond Goldman’s two co-presidents.

Schwartz’s retirement eliminates a presumptive CEO candidate with a strong trading background and comes as Goldman Sachs has been trying to reinvent itself after market trends and regulations sapped profits from its once-lucrative trading business.


Goldman’s Next Leader

Solomon, who is turning 56 this year, worked in junk bonds at Bear Stearns before joining Goldman as a partner in 1999, right before the firm's initial public offering. He was global head of the financing group at the bank before becoming co-head of the investment banking division from July 2006 to December 2016.

Solomon and Schwartz were named co-chief operating officers and presidents in December 2016, following the departure of then-COO Gary Cohn to the Trump administration. Cohn said Tuesday he is resigning from his role as chief economic advisor to the White House.

Last year, Schwartz and Solomon presented a joint plan to move the bank forward and generate $5 billion in additional revenue, with a vision to boost lending and open for business in new locations such as Seattle and Atlanta.

Solomon has several pursuits outside of the Wall Street bank. He serves on the board of The Robin Hood Foundation, a nonprofit for fighting poverty in New York City. Solomon is also a member of the board of trustees at Hamilton College, from which he graduated in 1984 with a degree in government.

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