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Abigail with Attitude: Watch out for Weinberg G3 in Goldman succession stakes

Woody’s glum demeanour might also have been due to succession planning or the lack of it at the firm. For more than a year, commentators have been insisting that Goldman’s chief executive Lloyd Blankfein would have to step down.

There have, indeed, been some enormous bumps in the road: the Abacus CDO case with the Fabulous Fab in the driving seat; the obvious hostility of regulators towards the firm; the ‘We do God’s work’ interview. But Teflon Lloyd prances on.

And I’m not convinced he’s going anywhere in a hurry. But if he were to be run over by a bus tomorrow, who would ascend the Goldman throne? Sherwood has been mentioned as a contender, but my sources say this is unlikely.

Potential candidates Gary Cohn, president, and Mike Evans, head of growth markets, are not popular internally. I wouldn’t discount David Viniar, the firm’s respected chief financial officer.

But might the baton fall to Johnny Weinberg, co-head of the investment banking division?

Weinberg keeps a low profile but has form. He is the third generation of a dynasty that has been at Goldman since the early 1900s. Johnny’s father John L Weinberg ran the firm from 1976 to 1990 and his grandfather, the sainted Sidney, was in charge from 1930 to 1969.

Sidney, who started as the janitor’s assistant aged 16, came to epitomise the art of relationship banking. In his heyday, he sat on more than 30 corporate boards and is said to have attended an average of 250 board or committee meetings a year.

People close to Goldman say than Johnny is popular internally, has done a great job in the investment banking division and would be a credible public face for a firm that has had to get used to living in the headlines.

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