Elisha Wiesel, Goldman Sachs’ chief information officer — and a central figure in the firm’s overhaul of its technology functions — is in talks about leaving to pursue a philanthropic project, a person familiar with the situation told the Financial Times.

Mr Wiesel heads the Wall Street firm’s engineering division, which has swelled to around a quarter of its 35,600-strong workforce in his two years at the helm, as technology has shifted centre stage in the company’s bid to boost efficiency in its trading businesses and gain a foothold in new areas such as consumer banking and transaction services.

The bank declined to comment on his potential departure, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, along with the potential departure of Steve Strongin, who heads Goldman’s research division.

Two people familiar with the situation confirmed that both men were in talks about potentially leaving the bank or stepping back from their day-to-day management duties, but stressed that no final decisions had been made.

Marty Chavez, chief information officer of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., gestures as he speaks during the Goldman Sachs Disruptive Technology Symposium 2016 in London, U.K., on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. A growing number of online ventures are muscling into financial services, increasingly drawing backing from banks and institutional investors -- both for the platforms themselves and the debt they create. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Former chief financial officer Marty Chavez is also leaving Goldman © Bloomberg

The news comes the day after Goldman announced the departure of Marty Chavez, its one-time chief financial officer who preceded Mr Wiesel as technology chief and now co-heads the securities division.

“You normally see this [departure negotiations] in January,” one person familiar with the situation said, adding that some conversations had started a few months earlier this year as people contemplated whether they wanted to commit to the multiyear delivery of the strategy the bank will present in January.

The son of Holocaust survivor activist Elie Wiesel, Mr Wiesel has described his arrival at Goldman as an “accident” after his roommate urged him to go for an interview with a forerunner firm J Aron, when he was intent on a career in computer gaming.

He went on to join Goldman after college in 1994, when technology was still in its infancy in banking and the firm was in the early stages of building its SecDB trading tool.

More recently Mr Wiesel has been at the forefront of initiatives such as embedding technology in Goldman Sachs’ core operating divisions rather than focusing on its own division, and developing the Marquee platform which allows clients to trade with Goldman electronically.

One of the people familiar with the situation said those initiatives would continue if Mr Wiesel left.

Mr Strongin joined Goldman in 1994 after 12 years at the Federal Reserve.

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