Blankfein isn't planning to die at his desk at Goldman, after all

  • Blankfein once joked he would die at his desk at Goldman, but he really just meant he planned to stick around for a long time.
  • It's possible that a couple of people could succeed him, following a long-standing tradition at the investment bank, but there's no timetable.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
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Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

In case you were wondering how long Lloyd Blankfein would continue to hold his perch at the top of the heap at Goldman Sachs, well, he's gotten at least one day closer to leaving.

But don't get too excited about that.

The investment bank's chairman and chief executive since 2006, Blankfein, 63, used to joke he would die at his desk there. But Thursday on Bloomberg television he promised that really wasn't his plan.

"I don't want to give anyone out there false hope," he said, "but I'm not planning to die at my desk."

A New York Times story from earlier this month kicked up speculation about Blankfein's possible successor given his longer-than-usual tenure as CEO. "Guessing his replacement has become a popular Wall Street parlor game," the newspaper said in a story featuring the current front-runners for the job, co-Chief Operating Officers Harvey Schwartz and David Solomon.

"I just meant that it wasn't going to happen soon," Blankfein said Thursday. It's possible his successor could actually be two people, a tradition at Goldman going back many years.

Asked when that time would come, Blankfein said, "We're closer to that than we were yesterday."