Goldman gives some leeway in board fight

Marion Dakers
GOLDMAN Sachs has made some concessions to unions over its board structure, but has stopped short of splitting Lloyd Blankfein’s chairman and chief executive roles for now.

Top execs at the American bank have talked about dividing up Blankfein’s responsibilities in response to corporate governance concerns, but yesterday only went as far as introducing a lead director position on the board to hold off complaints. AFSCME, a prominent governance campaigner with shares in Goldman, said the move “is a step in the right direction” that “will provide a much needed and vital check on the company’s practices and conflicts of interest”. It has dropped its call for Blankfein’s job to be split.

Goldman said in new corporate governance documents that the lead director will be chosen by the independent directors. His or her duties will include leading a yearly CEO evaluation and “if requested by major shareholders, being available for consultation and direct communication”.