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Lloyd Blankfein's Friends Continue To Tell The Press He Needs A Nap, Might Retire

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A month ago, Charlie Gasparino reported that Lloyd Blankfein's friends had told him LB was tired of the grind and mulling over stepping down as CEO of Goldman Sachs by the end of the 2011. Goldman denied the story and reassured the world that Lloyd would be with us for many years to come. Apparently these so-called friends, like Gasparino, who said the denial was merely proof that GS was lying to him, beg to differ and have continued to tell the press Lloyd is on the way out.

Most recently these pals have spoken to the Times, which notes:

Two friends of Mr. Blankfein, 56, say he has told them since last summer that he is exhausted from leading the company through the financial crisis and that he would consider stepping down when he could do so gracefully, without the move appearing to be anything but voluntary.

Possible candidates for Blankfein's job include current president Gary Cohn, vice-chairmen Michael Evans and Michael Sherwood, the latter of which was recently named Gary Cohn's successor as chairman of the partnership committee, as well as "more junior candidates" like David Solomon, co-head of investment banking, David Heller and Harvey Schwartz. Should these people start considering how they'll redecorate the executive suite just yet? Goldman Sachs says no, because Blankfein's going nowhere.

A spokesman for the firm, Lucas van Praag, declined to comment other than to note that Mr. Blankfein “says he has never felt so energetic and has no plans to retire.”

Rumors LB will, however, entertain, are that he's accepting applications for new friends. If you think you're up to the grueling interview process, put in a resume today.

3 Insiders Seen As Contenders To Lead Goldman [NYT]
Related: "[I] don't know what's worse, GS lying when I reported the same story last month, or NYTimes for failing to credit FBN"