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Goldman Sachs’ Asia-Pacific chief Ken Hitchner to retire

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Goldman Sachs’ Asia-Pacific chief Ken Hitchner to retire

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Goldman Sachs’ Asia-Pacific chief Ken Hitchner to retire

Latest senior change comes as bank is mired in 1MDB scandal

Ken Hitchner, Goldman Sachs’ Asia-Pacific chairman and chief executive, is set to retire later this year after 27 years with the bank.

The change comes after several personnel shifts at the top of the US investment bank in recent months, as it deals with the fallout from its connection to Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal.

Mr Hitchner has overseen the region, excluding Japan, since 2017. Over the past year, he has been handing over responsibilities to Todd Leland and James Paradise, Goldman’s co-presidents in Asia outside of Japan, according to a person familiar with Mr Hitchner’s plans to retire.

Mr Hitchner joined the bank in 1991 after a career as a US navy pilot. By the time he departs in mid-2019 he will have been in Asia for about six years, several years longer than originally planned, the person said.

Bloomberg first reported the retirement. Goldman declined to comment.

Mr Hitchner was one of the key bankers responsible for setting up Goldman’s healthcare banking group in 1995. He went on to lead medical device banking and pharmaceutical banking, making him the only person at the time to head up two sector divisions simultaneously.

In October, Andrea Vella and Kate Richdale, Goldman’s two most senior Asia-Pacific investment bankers, stepped down from their management roles as co-heads of investment banking. They handed over those responsibilities to Mr Leland, who came to Asia in late 2017.

Mr Vella has been put on leave after new connections surfaced between him and the 1MDB scandal in Malaysia, in which billions of dollars in connection with a sovereign wealth fund went missing.

The US Department of Justice said in a statement last year that an Italian partner at the bank was a co-conspirator in the scheme to embezzle billions from the Malaysian fund. Mr Vella, who is from Rome, has not been charged but has been put on leave.

Goldman is one of the most profitable investment banks in Asia, with a considerable presence in China, but it has suffered in the wake of the 1MDB scandal.

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