Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS:US) said J. Michael Evans, a vice chairman who ran emerging markets and was seen as a potential successor to Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein, is retiring after more than 20 years at the bank.
Evans, 56, will step down at the end of the year and become a senior director, the New York-based company said today in a statement.
Evans ran businesses including the securities division, equity trading and equity-capital markets in a career that featured positions in New York, London and Hong Kong. In 2011, he was named to lead the emerging-markets units as part of Blankfein’s push to be “Goldman Sachs in more places.”
“Michael’s deep commitment to the firm, his unrelenting focus on our clients and his broad global market knowledge have left an extraordinary mark at Goldman Sachs,” Blankfein, 59, said in the statement.
Evans, one of four vice chairmen among the bank’s executive officers, led with E. Gerald Corrigan the business-standards committee, a group set up in 2010 to review policies and practices after Goldman Sachs was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for misleading investors on a 2007 sale of a mortgage-linked investment.
After that appointment, Evans was seen as a potential successor to Blankfein along with President Gary Cohn, the Financial Times wrote in 2010. Goldman Sachs paid Cohn 12 percent more than Evans’s $17 million for 2012, the first time since the financial crisis that Blankfein’s deputies were given differing compensation.
Blankfein told Bloomberg Television earlier this year that he had no plans to leave after seven years in the top job.
“The combination of this being who I am and what I do and having absolutely no other interests makes me think this is what I’ll be doing for a while,” Blankfein said in February.
Evans, a Canadian, graduated from Princeton University in 1981. He won an Olympic gold medal in rowing in 1984, the same year he earned a master’s degree from Oxford University. Evans was named a partner in 1994, a year after he joined Goldman Sachs from Salomon Brothers.
Evans owns about $230 million of Goldman Sachs stock, according to an April filing, which counts vested options, stock awards and family trusts.
In 2001, he became co-head of the equities business and rose to co-head of the firm’s securities division, which includes all trading.
Evans was named chairman of Goldman Sachs Asia Pacific in 2004, moving to Hong Kong, where he helped develop the bank’s business in China and its relationship with Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (601398) The firm sold its remaining stake in ICBC this year after posting more than $3.4 billion of gains from the investment. Evans was named a vice chairman in 2008.
The business-standards committee produced a report in January 2011 that laid out 39 recommendations to improve practices in areas such as conflicts of interest and transparency. In May of this year, the firm released a report about the actions it took in implementing the recommendations and the impact they had.
“We spent more than 100,000 hours training our people not only on the things that had changed, but teaching them how these changes were going to be implemented and driven down through the organization,” Evans said in an interview in May. The efforts were aimed at “making sure they stick and that they’re embraced by the totality of our population.”
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