Goldman Sachs chief Henry M. Paulson Jr., President Bush’s pick as the next Treasury secretary, will sell his substantial holdings in the Wall Street investment firm, the White House said Thursday.
Spokeswoman Dana Perino said Paulson is making the sale in order to conform with federal conflict-of-interest rules.
She said the sale would include all of his holdings in Goldman Sachs. Perino also said that both Paulson and his wife will sell any assets that create conflicts of interest.
Bush picked Paulson last month to succeed Treasury Secretary John Snow. The administration is hoping that the 32-year veteran of one of Wall Street’s premier investment houses will bolster the administration’s sales efforts for Bush’s economic policies.
Paulson owns 3.23 million shares of stock in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. which would be worth more than $480 million at the current value of Goldman stock. Paulson’s total net worth is estimated to be above $700 million.
The extent of Paulson’s wealth was illustrated by the financial disclosure filing he made with the Office of Government Ethics. That filing included a 242-page appendix to list all of his holdings.
On the disclosure form, Paulson said that he had earned $35.06 million in salary from Goldman Sachs last year, an amount which included cash and stock options.
As part of his moves to conform with government conflict-of-interest regulations, Paulson has agreed to sell his Goldman Sachs shares as well as stock options that have not yet vested, the White House said.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is aiming to hold Paulson’s nomination hearing on Tuesday as long as the review of all the necessary paperwork continues to move ahead, a spokeswoman said Thursday.
Paulson’s nomination is not expected to run into major roadblocks. Grassley has said he hopes the nomination will be approved by the full Senate by the July 4 congressional recess.