By Olivia Oran and Sweta Singh
(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc <GS.N> promoted company veterans David Solomon and Harvey Schwartz as presidents and co-chief operating officers on Wednesday, setting up the two men to compete to replace Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein.
The resurrection of the co-president roles was sparked by the departure of Gary Cohn, Blankfein’s longtime No. 2, who is taking a position advising U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on the economy.
Cohn, who will head the White House National Economic Council, was widely considered Blankfein's heir apparent. His departure opens up the field to other senior executives in the biggest management shakeup at the firm in more than a decade and probably shows Blankfein intends to remain CEO for several more years.
Solomon, a Bear Stearns veteran who joined Goldman in 1999, has co-headed its investment banking division since 2006. He previously headed the company's financing group, which includes capital markets and derivatives work for corporate clients.
Solomon is best known for his behind-the-scenes work with Goldman's top clients and has helped expand the firm's dealmaking and capital-raising business.
Schwartz began his career in Goldman's J. Aron commodities division, where Blankfein and Cohn also started, and was co-head of the company's trading division before becoming CFO in 2013. He replaced David Viniar, who guided the bank through the financial crisis and was the CFO with the longest tenure at any Wall Street firm.
As CFO, Schwartz has helped Goldman navigate a challenging trading environment with less tolerance for risk. He has overseen the bank's dealings with investors, analysts, ratings agencies and regulators.
Chief Information Officer Marty Chavez will replace Schwartz at the end of April, Goldman said, signaling the growing importance of technology for the firm.
Chavez has been responsible for building out Goldman's technology division, where he oversees 9,000 computer engineers. With a doctorate from Stanford and a master's degree in computer science from Harvard University, he developed Goldman's Marquee internal software system and has been a proponent of the once-secretive company becoming more transparent by opening up its technology to clients.
Goldman has not yet named a replacement for Chavez.
The bank has historically split the role of president, a position considered to be next in line to CEO, between two executives. But the resulting tension has often led to departures of senior executives.
Cohn had shared the president and COO positions with Jon Winkelried, who left Goldman in 2009.
John Thain and John Thornton also split the role of second-in-command under former CEO Hank Paulson. Thornton left in 2003 after it became clear that Paulson would be staying longer than expected.
Thain left Goldman in 2004 to head the New York Stock Exchange as Blankfein was named president, and two years later, CEO.
(Reporting by Sweta Singh in Bengaluru and Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Meredith Mazzilli)