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Norway wealth fund backs proposal to split Goldman CEO, chair roles

Published 04/19/2024, 03:12 AM
Updated 04/19/2024, 11:00 AM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo for Goldman Sachs is seen on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., November 17, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo
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By Greta Rosen Fondahn

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -Norway's $1.6 trillion sovereign wealth fund, one of the world's largest investors, will support a resolution calling for Goldman Sachs to split the roles of CEO and board chair, it said on Friday.

Proxy advisors Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis have recommended that investors back a shareholder resolution urging the bank to split the two positions, currently held by David Solomon, at Goldman's annual meeting on April 24.

The independence of banks' leadership has been a hot issue since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which operates the Norwegian fund, is the 12th biggest investor in Goldman Sachs according to LSEG data, with a 0.84% stake in the Wall Street bank at the end of 2023, valued at the time at $1.09 billion.

"The board should exercise objective judgement on corporate affairs and be able to make decisions independently of management," NBIM said in a statement explaining its vote rationale.

Goldman Sachs has recommended investors reject the proposal to split the two roles.

"This issue has repeatedly come up for vote at firms across our industry," a Goldman Sachs spokesperson said on Friday.

"Our Governance Committee needs the flexibility to determine the best structure for our firm," they added. "They made clear that a strong lead independent director, alongside the Chairman CEO role, is the most effective at this time."

© Reuters. File photo: The logo for Goldman Sachs is seen on the trading floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, New York, U.S., November 17, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File photo

A similar proposal filed last year drew 16% support, including from NBIM.

NBIM also said it would vote in favour of Goldman's pay package for top executives.

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