Another high-flyer quits at troubled Morgan Stanley

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The Independent Online

Morgan Stanley was hit by fresh turmoil yesterday when one of its best-known investment bankers, Joseph Perella, said that he was resigning.

Morgan Stanley was hit by fresh turmoil yesterday when one of its best-known investment bankers, Joseph Perella, said that he was resigning.

Mr Perella's departure was rumoured a couple of weeks ago, but he was later promoted to vice-chairman. At the time Mr Perella, 63, is reported to have said he supported Philip Purcell, Morgan Stanley's embattled chief, in his decision to oust several senior managers and replace them.

Mr Perella said at a company meeting shortly after the management reorganisation on 28 March that he was sorry two of his "blood brothers", Vikram Pandit and John Havens, were leaving the firm. But he denied speculation that he was also thinking of jumping, saying he was sticking with the "best team on Wall Street".

A spokesperson for Mr Perella said he was handing in his resignation letter yesterday. Terry Meguid, the head of investment banking, was also thought to be planning to quit.

Internecine warfare broke out at the world's second-biggest securities firm after Mr Purcell last month replaced Morgan Stanley's popular president, Stephan Newhouse, with two people regarded as more loyal to him - Zöe Cruz and Stephen Crawford. A string of senior people have defected and a group of eight former executives are waging a campaign to oust Mr Purcell and to replace him with one of their number, Robert Scott.

While Mr Purcell has insisted their attempt has failed because he has the support of the bank's board, the latest resignations are a worrying development because they could lead to an exodus of more bankers who are key to the bank's profits through their relationships with clients.

Mr Perella built the merger practice at Credit Suisse First Boston with Bruce Wasserstein - now the chief executive of Lazard - in the Eighties. The two left in 1988 and formed Wasserstein, Perella & Co. After parting company, Mr Perella joined Morgan Stanley in 1993.

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