Morgan Stanley appoints Ted Pick as CEO in a Three-Way Race

Morgan Stanley appoints Ted Pick as CEO in a Three-Way Race | CIO Women Magazine

In a surprising move, Morgan Stanley, a prominent player on Wall Street, has selected Ted Pick as its next Chief Executive Officer (CEO), marking the conclusion of an unusual and publicly acknowledged three-way competition for the top role. James Gorman, who has been serving as CEO since 2010, once humorously likened this selection process to the drama-filled television series “Succession.” This choice highlights the bank’s commitment to its internal talent pool and sets the stage for a new era of leadership.

Ted Pick, a veteran of the firm with over three decades of experience, will assume his new role at the helm of Morgan Stanley in January. His two rivals for the position, Andy Saperstein and Dan Simkowitz, will take on expanded responsibilities as co-presidents, overseeing critical areas such as wealth management and sales and trading. Gorman expressed optimism about their long-term commitment to the organization, although neither of them was available for interviews.

Morgan Stanley’s decision to openly identify its internal CEO candidates diverges from the traditional secrecy that typically surrounds such appointments in the corporate world. Gorman praised the talent within the organization, emphasizing that this process did not result in the expected internal conflicts.

Ted Pick’s Journey to the Top

Ted Pick, 54, has been a part of the Morgan Stanley family since 1990 and has climbed the ranks through various roles in investment banking and trading. Most recently, he served as a co-president overseeing these key business units. In an interview following the announcement, Pick revealed that he was informed of his appointment as chief executive around 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The bank’s board of directors called him into a meeting and greeted him with a standing ovation, marking a new chapter in his impressive career.

Morgan Stanley’s Evolution

Pick is set to take the reins of a very different Morgan Stanley than the one Gorman inherited in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. At that time, the bank was grappling with significant losses due to its substantial investments in subprime loans, prompting it, like many of its peers, to seek external investors and government assistance.

Morgan Stanley’s history has not been without drama; in 2005, John J. Mack returned to the bank, unseating then-CEO Philip J. Purcell in a boardroom coup, as documented in Patricia Beard’s book “Blue Blood and Mutiny: The Fight for the Soul of Morgan Stanley.” Subsequently, in 2009, the bank, under Gorman’s leadership, focused on bolstering its brokerage business, including the acquisition of the Smith Barney franchise, which caters to high-net-worth individuals. The bank’s strategic acquisitions in wealth management, such as the $13 billion purchase of E-Trade in 2020, further diversified its business, reducing its reliance on the more volatile banking and trading units.

Morgan Stanley’s strong technology banking practice made headlines recently for its role in Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, now known as X. The bank was among the lenders who provided Musk with the funds for the acquisition, a decision that may pose risks given the challenges faced by the social media platform. Ted Pick’s leadership will play a crucial role in steering the bank through the dynamic and ever-changing landscape of the financial industry.

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