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Goldman Sachs Brain Drain Reaches the Top

Stocks in this article: GS MS

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Goldman Sachs (GS) is parting company with two of the global co-heads of its securities division, in what may be the latest sign that Wall Street has lost its allure.

The departing co-heads, David Heller and Edward Eisler, have a combined 40 years of experience at Goldman, according to memos announcing the retirements that were signed by Goldman CEO and Chairman Lloyd Blankfein and President Gary Cohn.

Goldman Sachs CEO and Chairman Lloyd Blankfein

Staying on as co-heads of the division are Harvey Schwartz and Pablo Salame. They are joined by Isabelle Ealet, who was promoted on Wednesday in a separate memo.

Heller "was deeply involved in the restructuring of our equities business in 2003 and 2004, which laid the groundwork for its sustained outperformance in recent years," states one of the memos.

Eisler "played a leading role in developing and implementing many important aspects of the firm's global strategy. He contributed to the success of some of our most important and innovative transactions. In addition to his commercial contributions, Edward has hired, developed and mentored many of the firm's senior leaders," reads the other.

The departures were first reported by Bloomberg News, while Ealet's promotion was reported by Reuters.

Goldman has lost many top executives in the wake of the crisis. The company was initially celebrated for skating through the crisis virtually unharmed by market gyrations that caused billions in losses for competitors like Morgan Stanley (MS) and Citigroup (C), while driving others out of business entirely.

But Goldman soon became the object of much public scorn, as details emerged about the extent to which it relied on government support to ensure its success. Meanwhile, Goldman executives insisted for far too long that their success owed little if anything to the government.

In the wake of that criticism, new rules are being worked out that look to put a serious dent in the profitability of Goldman and other securities firms. Goldman shares are down more than 40% over the past year and trade below book value, a level once viewed as absurdly cheap for even a mid-tier investment bank, much less an industry leader such as Goldman.

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