Schwartz set as CFO
- Last Updated: 2:46 AM, September 19, 2012
- Posted: 11:29 PM, September 18, 2012
Goldman Sachs’ golden boy is stepping down as its financial chief.
Veteran banking whiz David Viniar, 57, officially announced plans to retire as chief financial officer after 32 years at the gold-plated firm — a departure that had been widely expected by Wall Street insiders.
As The Post reported exclusively, Viniar had hoped to retire as far back as 2010 but decided to stay on because he believed his departure might create more unrest while the firm was facing a raft of legal probes.
On Wall Street, Viniar is regarded as one of the most respected managers of complex risk, and at Goldman he’s the only official whose significance might eclipse that of CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
Indeed, one source speculated that Viniar’s exit implies that Blankfein, who has served as CEO for six years, might not leave for at another year because the firm wouldn’t want both execs retiring at about the same time.
Harvey Schwartz, 48, global co-head of the firm’s securities division, is slated to take over Viniar’s responsibilities at the end of January. He’s set to receive an annual salary of $1.85 million.
A bench-warmer on his Union College basketball team (where he garnered the nickname “Bones” for his lanky 6-foot-1-inch frame), Viniar is viewed within the halls of Goldman as its MVP for guiding the firm through the banking crisis of 2008.
He’s widely credited with pushing the firm to play serious defense as the mortgage market was upending rivals in early 2007.
Beyond accounting, Viniar wore numerous hats for the franchise, including maintaining oversight of technology and company-wide risk.
Goldman had considered splitting his duties up but opted to have Schwartz handle all of Viniar’s responsibilities, sources said.
“David’s role as a CFO is unique in respect to the amount of responsibilities that he has,” Roger Freeman, bank analyst at Barclays Capital, told The Post.
“We view the departure of Goldman’s CFO, David Viniar, as a signal that relative calm has arrived for Goldman Sachs,” wrote banking analyst Meredith Whitney in a note to clients.
During a conference call to discuss his departure plans yesterday, Viniar called his exit “part of the natural evolution.”
He is slated to join Goldman’s board as an non-independent director.
The Bronx-born Viniar has been the financial voice of the firm since it went public 12 years ago and is the longest-tenured Wall Street CFO.
Indeed, Viniar joined the firm in 1980 as an investment banker after graduating from Harvard Business School and has been the lead financial officer since 1999.