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Blankfein May Leave Goldman Sachs by Summer: Report

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein testifies before a Senate investigative committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 27, 2010.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

Lloyd Blankfein may step down as chief executive of Goldman Sachs as early as this summer, according to Fortune magazine.

President and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn is the lead candidate to replace him, according to the report.

The move is largely seen as a way to recover from damages to the firm’s reputation during the financial crisis.

While the move is not at all certain, Cohn’s viability as the CEO of Goldman is strong. The stock was up after the news broke in pre-market trading on Tuesday.

“He rose through the ranks at the firm as a trader, along with Blankfein; but over the last 17 years or so he has become a top manager. All of the firm’s key business heads report to Cohn. He has also emerged as a global ambassador for the bank,” reports Fortune’s Katie Benner.

Benner told CNBC on Tuesday that “[Blankfein] would like to keep his job for much longer,” but that board of directors are waiting for his departure.

“They would love to see a change at the top. They are thinking about life after him. If we see him stay beyond the end of this year, then he has prevailed over the board,” she said.

Another possibility is for Blankfein to share the role of CEO, which was the path of John Weinberg and John Whitehead; Robert Rubin and Stephen Friedman; and Jon Corzine and Henry Paulson.