Not everyone on Wall Street will be sad to see Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein go, if he exits this year as reported by The Wall Street Journal on Friday.
Banking analyst Dick Bove told CNBC the only disappointing thing about Blankfein’s reported departure plan is that it isn’t taking place right now.
“I think it’s wonderful. The only bad part about this news is that people are talking about him staying until the end of the year. I think he should leave immediately,” Bove told CNBC’s “Halftime Report.” “I don’t think there’s any rationale other than the cult of Lloyd Blankfein. … There’s no reason for him to stay.”
The analyst’s comments came after a report that Blankfein is preparing to step down as CEO after a 12-year tenure at one of Wall Street’s most powerful organizations. Goldman Sachs declined to comment on the validity of the report, but sources familiar told CNBC there is no set timeline for his departure and it could stretch into next year or longer.
Bove, an analyst at Vertical Group, bashed the Goldman chief’s performance on a variety of issues, including the way Blankfein lead the company through the 2008 financial crisis. The analyst underscored what he sees as “pathetic” earnings and revenue performance over the past several years relative to the other big banks on Wall Street.
“Give me another company that’s had an earnings record or a revenue record over 10 years as bad as this one is, and tell me why the head of that company should be considered one of the best managers of American industry,” Bove said. “I look at the number, I take a look at what this company had to stay alive in 2007 and I don’t give him credit.”
Shares of Goldman Sachs were up 1.4 percent Friday afternoon, recovering most of their gains after an initial hit on the Blankfein report.
Bove may not be giving Blankfein enough credit. Goldman shares have risen about 80 percent under the CEO, beating many of its Wall Street competitors but lagging the market. Goldman outperformed many of its competitors except J.P. Morgan Chase, which rose about 190 percent during the period. Bank of America and Citigroup declined respectively by more than 30 percent and 84 percent.
The analyst also criticized Goldman for taking a “staggering” amount of cash from the Federal Reserve during the crisis while failing to change its management style or business initiatives unlike Morgan Stanley and Citigroup.
“He should have purchased a bank like Comerica 10 years ago, he should have changed his trading activities, he should have brought up the importance of investment banking in the company, he should have recognized that the technology in the industry was moving faster than Goldman’s legacy technology, which apparently did not adjust,” he said.
Goldman Sachs declined to comment.