There will be few people who don't know who Carlos Cordeiro is, and for his competitors at other investment banks they may be relieved to hear that the workaholic Goldman Sachs banker and current Asian vice-chairman is to retire. It will be the end of a stellar career with the firm he joined in 1990, and of which he became a partner in 1992.

Cordeiro initially forged his career with Goldman in Europe, where he built up the firm's senior debt capital markets relationships. He forged close relationships with borrowers like the World Bank and also brought South Africa to the capital markets for the first time in 1994.

In 1996 he was sent to Asia. The move was designed to underline Goldman's commitment to the world's most populous region, after a period in which it had retrenched. He was charged with building Goldman's presence in the Asian debt markets and quickly succeeded in bringing some of the most crucial mandates to the firm.

Some will say his crowning moment was his work on the $4 billion Korean sovereign bond, a deal that Goldman and Salomon Smith Barney brought to market at a crucial time for the Republic. The deal was make-or-break for the Korean public finances, and came at the lowest ebb of the Asian financial crisis.

Then in 2000 he gave up the debt capital markets portfolio to move into the vice-chairman role for Asia.

In retiring from the firm, Goldman has worked out an amicable solution for retaining some of Cordeiro's intellectual capital and wide ranging relationships. He will resign from the partner pool, but will stay on part time as an advisory director and will retain the vice-chairman title. He will be one of only 20 Goldman advisory directors, and will be the sole one to be based outside the US.

Cordeiro is said to be considering many options, as he seeks to open a new chapter on his career. Government work may be a possibility. It is known that he was approached to join the Bush administration earlier this year, and was offered a senior position in the trade office.

He is, however, thought to be keen to remain in Asia.