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Controversial Goldman board member to retire

The Associated Press

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. disclosed Thursday that board member Stephen Friedman, who was at the center of a controversy over conflict of interest at the Federal Reserve, plans to retire May 22.

Friedman was chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and a director at Goldman when the bank came under the Fed's supervision in 2008. He continued to lead the New York Fed as it propped up Goldman and other banks by offering the companies billions in aid.

The dual roles held by Friedman during the financial crisis brought greater scrutiny of conflict of interest policies for Federal Reserve leaders.

The Federal Reserve subsequently tightened conflict of interest restrictions governing the boards of directors of its 12 regional banks to deal with potential conflicts, like that involving Friedman. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office also said in an audit that the banks' board members have apparent conflicts of interest because of their day jobs as executives and corporate directors.

Friedman ended up resigning from the Fed position in 2009 after The Wall Street Journal raised questions about his ties to Goldman, including his large holdings of the company's stock.

Goldman Sachs said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Friedman, 75, is stepping down in accordance with the firm's age-based retirement policy.

Adebayo Ogunlesi, a director and a current member of the risk committee, will take over Friedman's role as chair of the risk committee following his retirement.