Friday 25 May 2018

Newsmaker: Colm Kelleher

Morgan Stanley's new president Colm Kelleher
Morgan Stanley's new president Colm Kelleher

Morgan Stanley's new president is a lively and outgoing former salesman, who's fond of golf, cigars and modern British art.

He's also from Co Cork, one of nine children, and an Oxford graduate who's been at the financial services giant for 25 years.

Colm Kelleher's new job title makes it sound like he's become Morgan Stanley's top dog. He hasn't.

Chief executive Jack Gorman - of whom Mr Kelleher is an important lieutenant - has signalled his intention to stay on for at least another five years, sources told Bloomberg, but the 58-year-old Corkman now looks best placed to take up the reins next time around.

Mr Kelleher's elevation sees him take charge of the company's retail brokerage, on top of the role he already had as head of trading and investment banking.

Greg Fleming, another important deputy of Mr Gorman, left the bank when the promotion process began. He had been in charge of the retail brokerage and had previously offered to leave in October after some of his duties were taken away.

But even though bankers like to divide the world into winners and losers, Mr Kelleher's latest promotion shows how both sides of a once-prominent Morgan Stanley rivalry have managed to thrive. His clash with Paul J Taubman when they co-led the firm's investment-banking and trading unit was so well known that it was a punchline among colleagues.

As Mr Kelleher was promoted in 2012, Mr Taubman left and started a boutique mergers firm, PJT Partners, and advised Verizon Communications' $130bn takeover of a stake in Verizon Wireless. Last year, his venture combined with Blackstone Group's spun-off merger-advisory business and went public.

Mr Kelleher has helped lead Morgan Stanley's equities business, run by Ted Pick, to the top spot globally while trying to turn around the fixed-income trading unit.

The Irishman, who has been based in London, will return to New York for his new role, which will include more travel within the US as he takes on a brokerage operation with more than 600 locations.

The Irishman was awarded $18m in cash and equity awards for 2014, and was told of his promotion at a dinner in New York last week, according to a person briefed on the discussions. The move provides a counterweight to Mr Gorman's brokerage background at the top of the firm, and may free the chief executive to focus on long-term strategic goals. That includes developing digital offerings.


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