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Who will succeed Lloyd Blankfein as chief executive of Goldman Sachs? With the departure of Harvey Schwartz, one of the two chief contenders, the path is now clear for David Solomon to step into that influential role.

John Gapper explains in his column that Goldman Sachs has opted for a smooth man over a rougher one as the probable winner. Mr Solomon is a bon viveur who collects wine and occasionally appears in clubs as DJ D-Sol. John points out that, like many succession contests, this one was supposed to go on longer. But an open rivalry meant that the partners instead opted for a quick decision.

Mr Schwartz had been the favourite, as he came from the old bond and commodities division that has dominated Goldman Sachs’ profits for more than a decade. But unlike the incumbent Mr Blankfein, he had showed little sign of growing into a role in the limelight or of gelling with chief executives and journalists.

The legacy of Stephen Hawking: Anjana Ahuja reflects on the work of the theoretical physicist who passed away on Wednesday. His efforts to knit together two parallel realms in physics will continue to fascinate and frustrate researchers for years to come, she argues.

The closed world of policy and research: Roula Khalaf says there is a feminist drive among think tanks, which are discovering the value of including women. The project-based business model of such institutions is still a challenge, however, meaning they lack resources to prioritise issues that can be important to woman.

British integration: I’ve looked at the UK government’s new strategy for tackling segregation, extremism and easing relations between ethnic communities. Although defining exact British values is a hard task, it seems the era of taking a laissez-faire approach to cohesion is coming to an end.

Best of the rest

To hurt corrupt Russians, ban their children from our schools — Jenni Russell in The Times

Hawking won the world’s respect – and gave disabled people like me hope — Frances Ryan in The Guardian

‘I’m fascinated by Mussolini’, an interview with Steve Bannon — Nicholas Farrell in Spectator USA

We Stand With the Students — New York Times editorial board

Pompeo’s Promise at State — Wall Street Journal editorial board

What you’ve been saying

Shareholder returns are not the sole criterion on which CEOs are judged— letter from Quintin Price

The rise of index funds is a boon for CEOs looking for support for rational longer-term plans. Passive fund managers are not competing to outperform an index on short-term timescales. As a consequence, the corporate governance teams at companies such as BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street are able to consider longer-term positive implications of your proposed strategy. Don’t neglect these people when you visit the offices of these investment behemoths; the active managers may be more vocal but the corporate governance teams — speaking for many multiples of votes relative to the active managers — have much more power to support your plans. The activist hedge funds learnt this a long time ago; they habitually solicit support from the big passive managers as a precursor to launching their initiatives and bids.

Comment from Katsuwonus on Grown-up Philip Hammond tries to make the best of Brexit

One of the many tragic aspects of the Brexit fiasco is that it will absorb one hundred percent of government for the duration of this government’s term, and maybe the next one too. The NHS, housing shortages, growing inequality, failing infrastructure, declining school standards, expensive tertiary education, shortage of quality jobs — the list goes on, and on. Many countries face similar problems, but which are putting them all on the back-burner for several years? Yet another cost of Brexit.

Nothing brings a parent and child together quite like Lego— letter from Alison Hackett

The Lego in our house, bought almost 30 years ago, will be used by our grandchild when he is old enough to click two bricks together. It is the only toy we kept for recycling. May I propose that Niels Christiansen considers an alternative business model for Lego — one that is more sustainable, more environmentally aware, and more community based? Lego could become a broker or clearing house for second-hand Lego — The Lego Exchange. New sets and designs of Lego would be brought out only occasionally, and replacement pieces supplied only when demand outstripped supply.

Today’s opinion

Lex: Adidas: making strides The buzz around ‘athleisure’ and the Kanye West design partnership have boosted sales

Instant Insight: The UK government is right to worry about integration For too long, Britain has taken a laissez-faire attitude towards community cohesion

How Stephen Hawking took physics to the limits His work on black holes continues to fascinate and frustrate researchers today

FT View: What the public should expect from auditors Only radical reform will force the Big Four accountants to improve audit quality

Mike Pompeo will help bring Trump’s America First policy closer The US president has fired almost all those who do not share his instincts

China’s next central bank chief will owe a debt to Zhou Xiaochuan The new PBoC governor must continue an aggressive agenda of financial reform

The EU’s plan to shift clearing out of London risks disaster Splitting supervision between Esma, the ECB and states threatens stability

Feminist drive stirs the closed world of policy and research The homogeneous domain of think-tanks discovers the value of including women

Free Lunch: Not much of a British spring Hammond should declare victory and leave the deficit where it is

FT Alphaville: Spare a thought for the music halls

A smooth man succeeds at Goldman Sachs David Solomon is the polished operator that a diversified bank requires

FT View

FT View: Answering Moscow’s implausible deniability An isolated Britain should muster old allies if Putin is to be deterred

FT View: What the public should expect from auditors Only radical reform will force the Big Four accountants to improve audit quality

The Big Read

The Big Read: Revenue streams: Spotify’s bid to generate a profit The company is critical to the revival in the music industry but, with its brutal business model, can it make money?

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