NEW YORK — Earlier today, a representative of SumOfUs.org, a global consumer group submitted a shareholder resolution calling for a new requirement that “the Chair of the Board of Directors be an independent member of the Board.”  Currently, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein is the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Blankfield assumed this position in May 2006, with the nomination of former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson to the United States Secretary of the Treasury.

View SumOfUs’ shareholder proposal here.

The importance of an independent Chair of the Board of Directors for improving Goldman Sachs’ corporate governance

SumOfUs’ shareholder resolution outlines the importance of an independent Chair of the Board of Directors for improving Goldman Sachs’ corporate governance, and argues that an independent Chair of the Board would be better able to oversee the executives of the company and set a pro-shareholder agenda.

More than 340 members of SumOfUs who are also Goldman Sachs shareholders have signed on to support the proposal and nearly 27,000 SumOfUs members have signed onto a petition backing the change and calling for an end to the revolving door of Goldman Sachs executives and their government regulators.

View the petition here.

“Simply put – there is a clear conflict of interest when a corporation’s board of directors, which is responsible for overseeing the CEO and representing shareholders, is chaired by that same CEO,” explained Paul Ferris, SumOfUs Campaign Director. “Goldman Sachs shareholders and clients would benefit tremendously by having independent leadership of the board and more effective oversight of executives.”

SumOfUs members object to Goldman Sachs’ the role in the Greek debt crisis, where the European and Greek public lost billions of dollars while Goldman profited. Lloyd Blankfein, current CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs was the head of the unit that engineered a coverup of Greek debt in 2001 and again in 2009. Almost 100,000 SumOfUs members have signed a petition calling on Goldman Sachs to contribute the profits it earned in Greece to help alleviate the plight of the Greek people.

Goldman Sachs was forced to adopt new “business practices” by a settlement with the US Department of Justice related to Goldman’s role in causing the 2008 global financial crisis, but evidence suggests that the bank under Blankfein’s leadership has already violated those practices with respect to the sale of complex financial products to sovereign governments like Malaysia.

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SumOfUs.org is a global consumer watchdog. We mobilize consumers, investors, and workers to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable and just path for our economy.

Gary Cohn Goldman Sachs