Morgan Stanley selected Ted Pick to become its new chief executive officer, succeeding James Gorman after a 14-year run that reshaped the U.S. bank.
Pick, a three-decade veteran of the firm and co-president, will be elevated to the top role in January and join the board, the bank said in a statement Wednesday. Gorman, 65, will stay on as executive chairman.
In tapping Pick, 54, the firm is turning to the man credited with spurring a revival in its trading business after a perilous stretch during the 2008 financial crisis — a period when clients ditched Morgan Stanley and doubts about its ability to survive reverberated around Wall Street.
The Australian-born Gorman, once a surprise choice for CEO, rescued the bank from that near collapse and engineered a multiyear transformation with wealth management at its core. That strategic overhaul was accelerated by two signature deals in 2020, turning Morgan Stanley into a money management powerhouse barreling toward a $10 trillion goal — and catapulting its market value above that of archrival Goldman Sachs Group.
The succession saga at the New York-based bank has played out methodically — and somewhat publicly — since Gorman's chief deputy Colm Kelleher exited in 2019. Soon after, Gorman unveiled the biggest leadership shakeup in a decade, positioning a small group of lieutenants — and the co-presidents Pick and Andy Saperstein in particular — as his most likely successors. Jon Pruzan, another contender, exited earlier this year to be president at Don Mullen's investment firm Pretium.
Gorman said in May that he intended to step down within a year, setting off a three-way race between his co-presidents as well as investment-management head Dan Simkowitz.
Pick was viewed as the most likely heir to Gorman, thanks to his role overseeing the more complex institutional securities business — which until recently was also the more dominant division. But with the bank's recent acquisitions, the wealth management unit has been capturing a bigger piece of the revenue pie, helping lift the prospects of Saperstein, who runs that arm.
Gorman has maintained that the next CEO doesn't necessarily have to run the biggest business. "A lot of people focus on what business you're running and whether a business is doing well or not," he said earlier this year. "Well, if that were the criteria, I wouldn't have got the job because I was running the smallest and worst-performing business."