(Updates with board composition starting in first paragraph, Gupta indictment in fifth paragraph.)
Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the fifth- biggest U.S. bank by assets, added M. Michele Burns as an independent director, expanding its board to 12 members and adding a third woman to the board for the first time.
Burns, 53, was chairman and chief executive officer of Mercer, a unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos., until earlier this month, New York-based Goldman Sachs said in a statement today. She was recently named to plan and design a new retirement policy center for Marsh & McLennan, Goldman Sachs said. Her election was effective yesterday.
Chairman and CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein, 57, has been seeking new directors since H. Lee Scott, the former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. CEO, left Goldman Sachs’s board earlier this year and Brown University President Ruth Simmons stepped off the board in May 2010. Goldman Sachs, which reported its second quarterly loss in 12 years as a public company this month, named Barnard College President Debora L. Spar to the board in June.
Burns and Spar join Lois D. Juliber, the former Colgate- Palmolive Co. vice chairman who has served on the Goldman Sachs board since March 2004, in making women represent one quarter of the board’s members. Rival banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc. each have two female directors.
One of Goldman Sachs’s former board members, Rajat Gupta, was charged earlier this week with five counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud in an indictment in Manhattan federal court. Gupta, who is alleged to have fed tips to hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, pleaded not guilty and his lawyer called the allegations “totally baseless.” Gupta left the Goldman Sachs board in 2010.
Burns will serve on the firm’s audit, risk, compensation and corporate governance and nominating committees. She previously worked as chief financial officer for Marsh & McLennan, Mirant Corp. and Delta Airlines Inc.
Burns started her career at Arthur Andersen LLP, where she led the Southern regional tax practice and served as a senior partner. She has a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Georgia and already serves on the boards of Cisco Systems Inc., Wal-Mart and the Elton John AIDS Foundation, where she is also treasurer.
--Editors: Rick Green, William Ahearn
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