Goldman Sachs Asia chairman to step down

A sign is displayed in the reception of Goldman Sachs in Sydney.
A sign is displayed in the reception of Goldman Sachs in Sydney.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - Goldman Sachs is losing an architect of its Asia-Pacific division at the same time it confronts slowing activity in the region and a probe over its dealings in Malaysia.

Mr Mark Schwartz, 62, has decided to retire from his post as chairman of Goldman Sachs Asia-Pacific, according to a memo on Monday (Oct 17) from chief executive Lloyd Blankfein and president Gary Cohn reviewed by AFP.

Beijing-based Schwartz, a 27-year Goldman veteran, will leave his post at the end of 2016. He will serve as a senior director at Goldman following his departure from China.

Mr Schwartz played an "instrumental role" in building Goldman's business in Asia, as chairman of Goldman Sachs Asia-Pacific in Tokyo in the late 1990s and reprising the role in 2012 from Beijing, said the memo.

Facing a slowdown in initial public offerings and merger advisory in Asia, Goldman plans to cut 30 per cent of its staff throughout the region with the exception of Japan, a person familiar with the plan told AFP last month.

Goldman's Asia operations have also been tainted by its work with Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB, which is enmeshed in a political scandal over allegations that billions of dollars were looted in an audacious campaign of fraud and money laundering.