By Steve Gelsi
Gorman says three internal candidates are in the running to replace him
Morgan Stanley's stock dipped early Friday as CEO James Gorman, speaking at the bank's annual general shareholder meeting, said he plans to step down sometime in the next 12 months.
Morgan Stanley's board "has identified three very strong senior internal candidates for consideration as the next CEO," Gorman said.
As CEO of Morgan Stanley (MS) since 2010, Gorman ranks as one of only three megabank CEOs still at the helm since the global financial crisis of 2008-09, along with JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) Jamie Dimon and Bank of America Corp.'s (BAC) Brian Moynihan.
"The specific timing of the CEO transition has not been determined, but it is the board's and my expectation that it will occur at some point in the next 12 months," Gorman said, according to a transcript provided to MarketWatch. "That is the current expectation in the absence of a major change in the external environment."
Morgan Stanley's (MS) stock is down 2.6% on Friday. The stock has fallen about 3.2% in 2023, compared with a drop of 4.9% by the Financial Select SPDR exchange-traded fund (XLF) and a 9% increase by the S&P 500 during the same time period.
Odeon Capital analyst Richard Bove said Gorman's retirement is a blow to the company.
"While no one is irreplaceable, James Gorman is irreplaceable," Bove said. "The failure to announce a successor will tear the company apart if it is not done quickly."
Three potential candidates are Edward "Ted" Pick, Andy Saperstein and Dan Simkowitz, according to reports from Barron's and the Wall Street Journal. These executives lead the three major business lines at Morgan Stanley.
Morgan Stanley spokespeople contacted by MarketWatch did not comment on the three potential candidates.
Saperstein is the managing director and head of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management; Pick is head of the institutional securities group; and Simkowitz is head of investment management. Pick and Saperstein also share the title of co-president.
Saperstein will be a featured speaker for the bank at the Bernstein 39th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference on May 31.
In the first quarter, institutional-securities revenue under Pick fell 11% to $6.8 billion, while wealth-management revenue under Saperstein rose 11% to $6.6 billion and investment-management revenue under Simkowitz dipped 2% to $1.29 billion.
The board's compensation, management development and succession committee, chaired by Dennis Nally, has been heading up the succession-planning process. That committee then reports to the full board, headed by lead independent director Tom Glocer.
Gorman has been open about succession planning and said in an interview in Davos, Switzerland, in January that a number of potential successors are in the running.
Under Gorman, the bank built up its business with a $13 billion acquisition of E-Trade in 2020 and an acquisition of Eaton Vance for about $1 billion in 2021.
These purchases boosted other business lines and also helped Morgan Stanley build up its assets under management, which provide a more steady fee-income stream than other business lines more dependent on market conditions.
In 2022, Gorman earned a base salary of $1.5 million and his total compensation was $39.4 million, driven largely by stock awards, according to the bank's proxy filing. His compensation included a $7.5 million bonus in 2022.
Pick had a $1 million base salary in 2022, with total compensation of $28.2 million, also largely driven by stock awards. His 2022 bonus was just under $8.7 million.
Saperstein earned a 2022 base salary of $1 million and saw $22.7 million in total compensation for the year. He earned a $7.6 million bonus last year.
Simkowitz had a $1 million base salary in 2022 and his total compensation was just above $20.5 million. His 2022 bonus was $6.7 million.
Gorman owned 1.3 million shares of Morgan Stanley as of Feb. 28, according to the company's most recent proxy. That includes 1.1 million units of common stock and about 155,000 underlying stock units.
Pick owned 706,409 shares of Morgan Stanley as of Feb. 28, including 456,223 units of common stock.
Saperstein owned 232,365 shares of Morgan Stanley as of Feb. 28, including 40,454 units of common stock.
Simkowitz owned 356,244 shares of Morgan Stanley as of Feb. 28, including 137,829 units of common stock.
Also read: Morgan Stanley's stock has underperformed the market since James Gorman became CEO in 2010
Emily Bary contributed to this report.
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May 19, 2023 14:14 ET (18:14 GMT)
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