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Goldman Sachs’s Blankfein May Step Down This Year, Fortune Says

Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. since 2006, may step down as early as the U.S. summer, Fortune Magazine reported today, citing an unnamed executive at the firm.

Gary Cohn, president and chief operating officer, is the board’s top candidate to replace Blankfein, according to the report. Blankfein’s departure isn’t certain, Fortune wrote. David Wells, a spokesman for the New York-based firm, declined to comment.

Goldman Sachs’s 2011 earnings dropped 47 percent to the lowest level since 2008 on a second consecutive annual decline in fixed-income trading revenue. Blankfein has sought to repair the firm’s reputation after the Securities and Exchange Commission and a Senate subcommittee accused the company of misleading buyers of mortgage-linked investments.

J. Michael Evans, a vice chairman who runs Goldman Sachs business in growth markets, has tried to position himself to replace Blankfein, Fortune reported. He hasn’t won the support of the board, Fortune said.

Goldman Sachs shares have jumped 28 percent in 2012 after plunging 46 percent last year.

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