Morgan Stanley's No. 2 exec Colm Kelleher is retiring

Morgan StanleyColm Kelleher
  • Morgan Stanley President Colm Kelleher will retire from the bank at the end of June, according to a memo to staff from CEO James Gorman and confirmed by a spokesman.
  • Kelleher will continue as a senior adviser to the firm and keep an office and administrative assistant at the bank, according to a person with knowledge of his employment agreement.

Colm Kelleher, the second in command at Morgan Stanley, is retiring at the end of June, according to an internal memo.

Kelleher, 61, will continue to serve as a senior adviser, according to a memo to staff on Thursday confirmed by a spokesman. Kelleher joined Morgan Stanley’s fixed income business in 1989, rising through the ranks until being named president in 2016. He also served as chief financial officer and co-head of strategy during the financial crisis, from 2007 to 2009.

“On a personal level, I have to say that every time I have faced an issue of real significance Colm has been the most important person I have sought advice from,” CEO James Gorman said in the memo. “His sharp mind, wicked humour and Irish charm sets him apart in the world of all too often dull business leaders.”

The heads of the major businesses that report to Kelleher will report directly to Gorman. The CEO isn’t planning to name another president for another year or two, at which time he may elect co-presidents, according to a person with knowledge of the arrangement.


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Kelleher will continue to have an office and an administrative assistant at Morgan Stanley, the person said. Kelleher will receive $US250,000 a year as a senior adviser, an arrangement that will last for up to five years but may be terminated at any time, according to a filing. He won’t be able to work with a competitor during that time.

He plans to join a couple more corporate boards in addition to his seat on Nortfolk Southern’s panel, and spend time on philanthropy, the person said.

Under his leadership, Morgan Stanley dethroned Goldman Sachs as the world’s top equities trading firm, and it’s picked up market share in fixed income trading recently after slashing 25% of the workforce in 2015.

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