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Goldman names insurance executive Tucker to board of directors

A Goldman Sachs sign is seen on at the company's post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, January 18, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermi
A Goldman Sachs sign is seen on at the company's post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, January 18, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermi

By Lauren Tara LaCapra

(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc named insurance executive Mark Edward Tucker as an independent director on Monday, expanding its board to a dozen directors, most of whom are independent.

The appointment of Tucker, 54, is the seventh change announced to Goldman's board this year as the investment bank has sought to appease shareholders seeking corporate governance reform.

Tucker, an accountant by training, is the chief executive of AIA Group Ltd <1299.HK>, the Asian insurer that American International Group Inc spun off in late-2010.

He has been widely credited with getting the company back on its feet after the struggles AIG and its subsidiaries had during the financial crisis. Prior to AIA, Tucker was CEO of Prudential PLC .

In a statement, Goldman Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein touted Tucker's experience leading insurance and banking businesses globally, as well as his risk management skills.

Last month, Goldman said private-equity executive and former Credit Suisse Group AG investment banker Adebayo Ogunlesi would also join the board, and in September it said Chief Financial Officer David Viniar would join the board after retiring in January.

Earlier in the year, ahead of its annual meeting, Goldman said it would nominate James Schiro to a newly created title of lead independent director, replacing John Bryan, who did not stand for re-election. Lois Jubiler also left the board, while M. Michele Burns, a longtime executive at the consulting firm Marsh & McLennan Companies, became chair of the audit committee.

The changes have helped avoid battles with shareholders like the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which have wanted Goldman to split the CEO and chairman responsibilities.

Instead, Goldman has added more independent directors and introduced more checks and balances. For instance, Schiro must perform an annual review of the CEO and set the board agenda.

Goldman's board now includes nine directors who have never been Goldman employees and 10 who are not current employees. It also includes Blankfein, Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn, who is president of the board, and Stephen Friedman, who retired as senior partner in 1994, a role that was equivalent to CEO while Goldman was still a private partnership.

Viniar will join the board at the end of January, bringing the number of directors up to 13.

(Reporting By Lauren Tara LaCapra in New York; additional reporting by Ben Berkowitz in Boston)

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