UPDATE 1-Goldman CEO Blankfein prepares to exit as soon as year-end - WSJ

(Adds details from report, background on Blankfein)

March 9 (Reuters) - Lloyd Blankfein is preparing to step down as Goldman Sachs Group Inc's chief executive as soon as the end of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The Wall Street bank is not looking beyond its two co-presidents, Harvey Schwartz and David Solomon, to replace Blankfein, the report said. http://on.wsj.com/2GapHsu

The timing of any moves could still change, and Blankfein is firmly in control of his exit, the Journal said.

Blankfein, 63, will retire ahead of or early in Goldman's 150th anniversary year in 2019, the report added.

Blankfein was named Goldman's CEO in June 2006 after Henry "Hank" Paulson quit to become U.S. Treasury Secretary.

Goldman's shares were up 1.5 percent on Friday morning.

The company did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment. (Reporting by Parikshit Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)