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Goldman’s Board Changes: Good Governance or Good PR?
28 Mar 2012 EDT - CNBC.com
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Goldman Sachs’ decision to appoint a lead director brought guarded praise from activist investors and mixed reviews from governance experts.

“Wall Street greed and conflicts of interest drove our economy into a ditch,” said AFSCME’s President Gerald W. McEntee. “Today’s move is a step in the right direction to make sure Wall Street CEOs are held accountable to their shareholders and that taxpayers are not on the hook for their risky bets.”

The decision by the embattled investment bank to elevate John Bryan to the role of lead director from presiding director came after talks with AFSCME back in February. The public service workers union holds Goldman stock in its pension fund, and planned on submitting a proposal to split the roles of Chairman and CEO at the bank’s annual meeting. AFSCME withdrew the proposal after Goldman agreed to name Bryan as lead director.

In his new role, the former CEO of Sara Lee and 13 year veteran of Goldman’s board will be responsible for the annual evaluation of Goldman’s CEO and Chairman Lloyd Blankfein. Bryan will also call and organize the executive sessions of Goldman’s independent directors and serve as their envoy to Blankfein.

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