"I have no plans to leave," Blankfein told CNBC in an interview Wednesday, adding that he's not feeding the departure rumor mill. "You may think they get it from me, but I have no idea where they get if from."
Earlier this year, several news outlets , including Fortune, reported that Blankfein was preparing to step down from his post this summer and would be replaced by Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn.
Blankfein said Goldman has a succession plan in place, though he didn't say if Cohn is the heir apparent."There is the long-term plan and there is the 'if you get hit by a bus plan,' " Blankfein told CNBC. "We have a lot of terrific executives, including Gary Cohn." Criticism of Blankfein and Goldman has increased after a number of senior executive departures over the past 18 months and spotty earnings performance that has rebounded. First-quarter net income for Goldman Sachs was $2.07 billion on revenue of $9.5 billion, slightly above analysts' estimates. Blankfein's fortunes have also rebounded. He received a 14% pay increase in 2011 -- for a total of $16.1 million -- as the bank struggled to maintain profitability in a tepid capital markets environment. The total pay consisted of a $2 million salary, $3 million bonus and stock incentives of $10.7 million, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Blankfein also dismissed charges by former executive Greg Smith that Goldman often put its own interests ahead of clients, and that executives often derided clients as "muppets" who were easily manipulated. "The short answer is 'yes,' we could find no substantiation," Blankfein said.
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