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Among the many issues facing Alan Cohen, the new global head of compliance at New York-based investment bank The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., there is one he does not have to worry about: filling someone else’s shoes. The compliance position is a new one at Goldman and, in Cohen’s view, underscores the firm’s commitment to compliance. The proof is in the org chart: Not only will Cohen report directly to the executive office, he’ll also get a seat on the firm’s management committee. Cohen’s arrival follows the departure of John Thain, who left the firm to become the CEO of the New York Stock Exchange, and the December promotion of vice chairman Lloyd Blankfein to president and chief operating officer of the firm. Cohen, 53, joins Goldman Sachs from the New York office of O’Melveny & Myers, where he coheaded the white-collar and regulatory defense practice and the New York litigation group. Goldman Sachs was a client. Prior to O’Melveny, Cohen spent nine years as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, where his last assignment was as chief of the securities and commodities fraud task force. He was an associate at New York-based Debevoise & Plimpton from 1981 to 1982, and clerked for a U.S. district court judge for the three previous years. In his new role, Cohen will work closely with the firm’s co-general counsel, Gregory Palm and Ben Adler, and will focus on regulatory matters and business practice issues. He doesn’t seem concerned about his lack of in-house experience. “The truth of the matter is that day by day I’m working on defining and expanding the role,” says Cohen.

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