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Goldman Sachs' 'brains,' CFO David Viniar, to retire

September 18, 2012|By Andrew Tangel
  • David Viniar, right, Goldman Sachs' chief financial officer, testifies with Goldman Managing Director David Lehman before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in 2010.
David Viniar, right, Goldman Sachs' chief financial officer, testifies… (Alex Wong / Getty Images )

NEW YORK -- Goldman Sachs' chief financial officer, who has been credited as among the most essential executives at the powerful Wall Street investment bank for helping it emerge strong from the financial crisis, is stepping down.

David Viniar, a 32-year veteran of the bank, will retire at the end of January 2013 but will join the board as a non-independent director.

His replacement: Harvey Schwartz, the bank's global co-head of the Securities Division, Goldman said in a statement at the end of the trading day in New York.

Some investors have seen Viniar as irreplaceable, as he helped guide its risk-management and avoid much of fallout from the housing crisis and financial crisis, according to a July 2011 Bloomberg News article.

“David’s the brains behind the operation -- the institutional knowledge that guy has is just unmatched,” Barclays analyst Roger Freeman told the financial news agency. “It’s difficult to imagine that there are many people that can juggle as many balls as he does seemingly effortlessly.”

Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman's chairman and chief executive, praised Viniar.

"From helping to develop many of our most important risk-management processes to attracting and mentoring generations of professionals to helping the firm manage through the financial crisis, David represents the very best of Goldman Sachs and its culture," Blankfein said in a statement.

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