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Drew Faust to join Goldman Sachs board

Then-Harvard University president Drew Faust greeted students before the school’s commencement ceremonies in May.
Then-Harvard University president Drew Faust greeted students before the school’s commencement ceremonies in May.(Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/File)

Goldman Sachs Group tapped former Harvard University president Drew Faust as a director, making her the third woman on an expanded 12-member board.

Faust, 70, starts as an independent director this month after an 11-year tenure at Harvard, the New York-based bank said Thursday in a statement.

Goldman Sachs, like other Wall Street institutions, has uneven representation on its board, with men outnumbering women. State Street Corp., one of the largest Goldman Sachs shareholders, mounted a campaign last year that pledged to vote against companies that don’t have women on their boards.

Goldman Sachs has a history of naming to its board women who served as college presidents. That includes Ruth Simmons, the former president of Brown University, and Debora Spar, a previous president of Barnard College in New York. Both currently aren’t on the bank’s board.

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Faust also joins the board at a critical time as speculation mounts over when chief executive Lloyd Blankfein will relinquish his role at the firm. Blankfein has two degrees from Harvard, from the college and the law school.

Each of his three children are alumni of Harvard college, and two have graduate degrees.

“Her perspective and experience running one of the most complex and preeminent institutions in the world will benefit our board, our firm, and our shareholders,” Blankfein said about Faust in the statement.

Faust, who was the first woman to lead Harvard, stepped down after a run marked by record fund-raising.

Faust is an author and Civil War historian who succeeded Larry Summers, an economist and former US treasury secretary, as the leader of Harvard.

She will continue to teach at Harvard.