President Bush has nominated the chairman and chief executive of investment banking firm Goldman Sachs, Henry M. Paulson Jr., as Treasury Secretary.

In a long-rumored departure, John W. Snow announced Tuesday that he would resign from the post . "It has been a great honor to serve ... [but] I have looked forward for some time to returning to private life," Snow said in a statement. "I do so with a great sense of satisfaction in what has been accomplished over the last three-and-a-half years."

Paulson, 60, has been the chief executive at Goldman since May 1999 after sharing the job for a year and previously serving as the company's chief operating officer from December 1994 to June 1998. A strong supporter of increasing corporate governance in the wake of Enron Corp.'s bankruptcy, as well as an active environmental advocate, Paulson is also chairman of the Financial Services Forum, a Washington trade group. After Bush announced the nomination, Paulson spoke briefly about the challenges posed to the country's economy by globalization.

Several other names had been floated as Snow's successor, and pundits were surprised that President Bush had selected, and convinced, a relative outsider to join his administration. Last week, former commerce secretary and Texas oilman Donald Evans was reported to be the front-runner to succeed Snow.

President Bush began making changes to his staff earlier this year, replacing chief of staff Andrew Card with Joshua Bolten, a former Goldman Sachs executive who had worked with Paulson. Lloyd Blankfein, president and chief operating officer at Goldman since January 2004, will replace Paulson at the investment firm.

Snow was appointed in 2003 to follow the president's first Treasury secretary, Paul O'Neill, who complained publicly about the diminished standing given the post in the Bush administration. Paulson will have to be confirmed by the Senate.

Previously on WebCPA:

Report: Snow Plans to Leave Treasury (May 30, 2006)

Snow: "Economy on Solid Footing" (April 27, 2006)Report: New Chief of Staff Wants Snow Out (March 31, 2006)

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