Morgan Stanley CEO Stepping Down, Among Last From Era of Great Financial Crisis

Morgan Stanley (MS) CEO James Gorman is leaving, among the last top bank executives from the era of the Great Financial Crisis to step down.

Gorman said on Friday he plans to resign as Morgan Stanley’s CEO, a position he started at the beginning of 2010, within the next 12 months. He revitalized the bank into a wealth management giant after it almost toppled during the 2008-2009 crisis.

Gorman’s exit will further reduce the number CEOs at large U.S. banks who have persisted in their roles since the crisis—signifying the disappearing links to that era at the nation’s leading financial institutions. Prior to beginning his role as CEO as the crisis eased, he was a key member of the management team that oversaw the purchase of Smith Barney in 2009.

Of the top 25 U.S. financial holding companies, just five have CEOs who either guided their firms through the financial crisis or began their tenures during it.

Seniority among that group belongs to Richard Fairbank, who founded Capital One Financial (COF) in 1988, spearheaded its initial public offering in 1994 and has remained in charge since then.

JP Morgan’s (JPM) Jamie Dimon is in his 18th year as head of the nation’s largest bank, and both Walt Bettinger at Charles Schwab (SCHW) and Stephen Seinour at Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) started as leaders of their companies during the depths of the crisis in late 2008 and early 2009, respectively.

Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America (BAC), now the No. 2 U.S. bank, guided that firm’s integration of Merrill Lynch. At the urging of the Federal Reserve, regulators and the federal government, BofA hurriedly bought Merrill as the crisis unraveled in September 2008.

Conversely, amid the ongoing reigns of those CEOs, a dozen of that those top 25 firms have named new CEOs in the past five years.

That includes BMO Financial’s Darrel Hacket, who will succeed Dave Casper on June 1. Eight others, including Jane Fraser at No. 3 Citigroup (C), have taken the helms of their companies since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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