Originally created 03/09/99

Goldman Sachs stock to be sold



NEW YORK -- Goldman Sachs & Co., the last large private partnership on Wall Street, will sell stock to the public this summer, partners of the elite investment bank agreed today. Jon S. Corzine, co-chairman of the firm, disclosed after the vote that he would step down after the initial public offering, known as an IPO.

Goldman's 220 partners voted overwhelmingly to sell at least 10 percent of the firm to the public to raise more than $2 billion, the firm announced.

The decision to once more try to go public marks the end of an era for the secretive, 130-year-old investment bank. Goldman Sachs' partners will have to give up some control in exchange for the cash it needs to keep pace with competitors like Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.

Goldman was prepared to sell stock last fall, but withdrew the offer as the market faltered. Today's vote came after Friday's record-high close for the Dow Jones industrial average.

"The completion of the public offering will mark a logical and appropriate point for me to move on in my career and life," Corzine said. "As of the closing of the offering, I will stand down from my remaining duties within the firm."

Corzine, 52, who helped build up Goldman's bond-trading division, lost his shared title as co-chief executive in January in what some have called a coup in the firm's executive management committee.

Corzine's reputation inside the investment bank suffered after Goldman postponed plans to go public in September, spent hundreds of millions to bail out a failing hedge fund, and then lost several hundred million in bad bond trades.

But today, Henry M. Paulson Jr., who is now the sole chief executive, had only words of praise for Corzine.

"We deeply appreciate Jon Corzine's vision in preparing the firm for this moment in history," he said. "We thank him for his leadership and grace."

And the firm is making other changes to bring its culture in line with corporate America. Last week, the company appointed two women to its executive management committee. Goldman Sachs also is making strategic investments in online trading and is said to be exploring opportunities to provide individual clients more retail services.