For the second year in a row, Goldman Sachs Group fended off a shareholder proposal that would have stripped Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein of his chairman's title. Instead, Goldman agreed with a union-backed investment group to increase the powers of its lead director.

Change to Win Investment Group, which advises union pension funds, said it agreed to withdraw a proxy resolution that would have required a split between the chairman and CEO roles. In return, Goldman agreed to give its lead director, James Schiro, greater powers, such as setting the board's agenda, not just approving it, the executive director of Change to Win, Dieter Waizenegger, said in a telephone interview.

Schiro will also write his own letter to shareholders in the company's annual proxy statement.

(Reporting By Ross Kerber; Editing by Leslie Adler)