Jim O'Neill (aka Mr Bric and Red Knight) to retire from Goldman Sachs

Jim O'Neill, the Goldman Sachs economist credited with coining the "Brics" acronym to refer to the fast-growing economies in Brazil, Russia, India and China, will retire from the Wall Street bank later this year.

The 55-year-old, who grew up in Gatley, Manchester, has spent nearly two decades with Goldman, joining as a partner co-head of economics research in 1995. In 2010, he took over as chairman of the firm's asset management business.

"He has identified revolutionary economic trends, defining the concept of the Brics which has become synonymous with the emergence of Brazil, Russia, India and China as growth opportunities of the future," Goldman's chief executive Lloyd Blankfein said.

A well known Manchester United fan, and one of the Red Knights who tried to buy the club in 2010, Mr O'Neill came up with the Brics concept in 2001, long before many on Wall Street and in the City woke up to the opportunities presented by the fast-growing markets. "Jim's Bric thesis has challenged conventional thinking about emerging markets and, as a result, has had a significant economic and social impact," Mr Blankfein said.