The Business On... James Gorman, Chief executive, Morgan Stanley
Thursday 20 October 2011
The comeback kid?
Yes, but more on that later. For now, let's just say he's a self-confessed Australian straight-talker, who donned the chief executive's trousers in January 2010 and is due to add the chairman's tunic to his corporate wardrobe when John Mack retires at the end of the year.
Do you envy him?
His meaty pay packet (totalling $15.2m [£9.6m] last year), certainly, but not the 9 to 5 aspect of his existence. Having to steer a big Wall Street bank through the choppy waters of the US and European sovereign debt crisis, jittery stock and bond markets and a deteriorating global economy... sounds like a nightmare to me.
So, the comeback kid?
Mr Gorman's fortunes have certainly improved radically in the past fortnight. Yesterday, Morgan Stanley bounced into the black, posting an impressive, consensus-beating $2.2bn profit for the third quarter, in stark contrast to arch rival Goldman Sachs, which on Tuesday reported only its second quarterly loss since going public in 1999.
And a fortnight ago?
Rumours about Morgan's financial health were so bad that Mr Gorman took the drastic measure of sending out a company-wide memo addressing the "enormous amount of confusion and misinformation" about the bank and urging staff to ignore "the rumour of the day".
Morgan Stanley has benefited from solid performances in its main divisions and a one-off accounting gain, leading Mr Gorman to straight-talk that his company "effectively navigated turbulent markets" in the third quarter. And it turns out that it has only $7.1bn of exposure to France, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Spain and Portugal, which falls to just $2.1bn after hedges.
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