Goldman Sachs (GS) may strip as many as 60 executives of their partnerships this year to make way for new executives in a process known as "de-partnering."

Only 375 or so of Goldman's 35,000 employees are partners, The New York Times reported. Winning partnership can be seen as a ticket to permanent success, with former partners including former Treasury Secretaries Henry Paulson and Robert Rubin.

"Being partner at Goldman is the pinnacle of Wall Street; if you make it, you are considered set for life," Michael Driscoll, a visiting professor at Adelphi University and former senior managing director at Bear Stearns, told The New York Times.

Losing partnership can cost an executive millions of dollars in bonus money. Goldman does not announce de-partnering, and some executives even try to conceal the loss of partnership, letting on that they're still part of the inner circle.

"It is something you just don't talk about," one former Goldman executive said.



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