James Gorman, Morgan Stanley’s chief executive, told a shareholder meeting on Friday that he planned to step down from the bank’s top job “at some point in the next 12 months,” bringing to a close the tenure of one of the longest-serving bank chiefs on Wall Street. He did not identify a successor.
Morgan Stanley’s stock fell 2 percent after Mr. Gorman’s remarks.
Why It Matters: A dose of uncertainty at a stable bank.
Mr. Gorman took over the bank in 2010, after Morgan Stanley nearly crumbled during the preceding financial crisis. His time as chief executive has been marked by stability, at least by the boom-and-bust standards of investment banks. Morgan Stanley has avoided the consumer banking foibles of its rival Goldman Sachs and stuck to the work of making billions of dollars on its advisory work to corporations and wealthy individuals, including Elon Musk.
But like its rivals, Morgan Stanley has recently been squeezed by a downturn in its bread-and-butter work of helping companies to go public, merge and acquire others.
In a sign of its financial health, Morgan Stanley was among the banks to put in billions of dollars in what ultimately proved an unsuccessful attempt to rescue the ailing midsize lender First Republic. Morgan Stanley has since hired some of that fallen bank’s advisers, bolstering its already enviable wealth management business, previously called Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
On Friday, Mr. Gorman said: “In my view, we are not in a banking crisis, but we have had and may continue to have a crisis among certain banks.”
Background: An ‘invisible’ hand on Wall Street.
A native Australian, Mr. Gorman worked at the consulting firm McKinsey & Company before becoming a banker.
Unlike Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan Chase, the only major bank chief with a longer tenure, Mr. Gorman has maintained a muted public presence. “I’m pretty invisible, and that’s fine,” he told The New York Times in 2014.
Mr. Gorman is one of the highest paid public-company chief executives on Wall Street, making $31 million in 2022.
Mr. Dimon is 67 and has shown no indication that he will step down soon. Mr. Gorman, 64, will likely depart at the same age as did his predecessor, John Mack, who left at 65.
What’s Next: A corporate succession race.
Neither Mr. Gorman nor Morgan Stanley gave an exact date for his departure from the chief executive role. Mr. Gorman said he expected to shift to the position of executive chairman “for a period of time” after stepping down.
Echoing what he has said publicly, Mr. Gorman noted on Friday that there were three “very strong” unnamed internal candidates to take over.
In tipping his departure without naming the bank’s next chief executive, Mr. Gorman said that he was aware of the television series “Succession,” which has spent years telling the story of an intense corporate power struggle.
The Morgan Stanley chief, referencing the drama around the show’s departed patriarch, said he had “no plans to go out like Logan Roy.”
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