James Gorman Flew To China For A 20-Minute Meeting And Then Flew Straight Back

james gorman

Photo: Morgan Stanley

Since he took over the helm of Morgan Stanley at the beginning of 2010, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for CEO James Gorman.The bank had an earnings spike in Q4, but recorded a loss the previous quarter.

Its brokerage operation is yet to be fully integrated with the Smith Barney unit; its share price is behind that of its competitors; it got snubbed in the AIG sale; and reinvigorating its fixed income business has been a challenge.

So maybe that’s why Gorman is such a hands-on CEO.

In an interview with the WSJ he said,

I pitched for 450 client meetings last year. I flew to China for a 20-minute meeting and then got on a plane and flew back.

We wonder which transaction he did the dash for?

Either way, it paid off, because Gorman said they got the deal.

Other things we learned about Gorman from the interview:

  • He has a pair of boxing gloves signed by Muhammad Ali in his office.
  • He’s not a fan of the Volcker Rule — “I think the way to achieve what the Volcker group is trying to achieve is through capital requirements. My concern there is that it doesn’t get interpreted so broadly that it affects legitimate client business.”
  • He likes having former CEO and now Chairman John Mack around. And whenever he’s in the office, they hang.

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