Greg Fleming, the president of Morgan Stanley’s wealth management business, suddenly departed the firm on Wednesday after Colm Kelleher was tapped to become the sole president of the bank.
Fleming had long been considered a a potential heir-apparent to CEO James Gorman, but Kelleher’s appointment cast his ascendance into doubt.
So he left, and in typical Wall Street fashion, CEO James Gorman vaguely wrote a memo saying Fleming would be pursing other opportunities.
Fleming also wrote a memo that went only to members of his team reminding them to continue doing great work regardless of his departure.
Here’s the full memo:
The new year always brings change and new challenges and, for me, those challenges will be on the horizon beyond Morgan Stanley. I want to take this opportunity to tell you how proud I am to have led this organisation for the past five years, and to reflect on what we accomplished together.
We overcame the challenges and difficulties of integrating the largest wealth management merger ever, to create a hon organisation that today is the leader by all important measures. While the numbers are impressive in terms of client assets, financial advisors, productivity, profitability and the breadth of resources we have at our disposal, what’s most important is the quality of what you do every day. You consistently place clients’ interest first and bring exceptional thinking to bear on the very real problems they face managing their wealth in a highly uncertain world. As I’ve said before, millions of families sleep better at night knowing they have a Morgan Stanley financial advisor by their side.
The leadership team that will take this business forward is a strong one, and I have every confidence in their ability to build on our success. I will always cherish the opportunity that I had to work closely with so many of you and wish you every personal and professional success in the future.
Thank you all and, as usual, I would like to end with one of my favourite quotes, something that can inspire us as we all move to the next chapter.
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” — Aristotle