A top executive at

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

is leaving the Wall Street investment bank to take a teaching job at university in China.

John Thornton, Goldman's co-president, announced Monday he is leaving the firm to be a professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He will formally step down in July.

Thornton had shared the post with John Thain.

Thornton joined Goldman Sachs in 1980 in the mergers department. He became a partner in 1988 and co-chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs International in 1995. From 1996 to 1998, he was chairman of Goldman Sachs Asia. He was named president and co-chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs in 1999.