Neil Sedaka famously sang that breaking up is hard to do, and wealth management firms have certainly had their share of rough changes of leadership.
Overspending, backstabbing, family intrigue and just plain surprise resignations can all play a part when it comes to cutting ties with a chief exec.
Of course, not every tenure ends with days or months of headlines breathlessly reporting the latest twists and turns. One firm has generated headlines for its ability to keep a secret while maintaining an air of calm, while it plans its succession.
To find which firm that is, look at our list of 5 Messy Financial Firm Breakups, and One Keeping Mum:
1. Mohamed El-Erian, PIMCO: 2014
Wall Street might have been shocked in January when El-Erian, the CEO and co-CIO of the bond giant, announced he would leave, but Bill Gross, the company’s founder and co-CIO, was having none of it. In fact, by early February Gross let the world know “we are a better team at this moment than we were before.” Time will tell.
2. Ronald O’ Hanley, Fidelity Investments: 2014
After El-Erian announced his split from PIMCO, O’Hanley let it be known he would leave his post as Fidelity Investments’ head of assets. Maybe it was expected. Some industry experts said being No. 2 at the family-run company was never a long-term assignment. So maybe all we can do is warn the next manager up. For O’Hanley’s part, he said he had accomplished his goals of aiding Abigail Johnson as she took over the company from her father and improving asset management at the firm.
3. John Mack, Morgan Stanley: 2001 and 2010
There might have been a handshake agreement that Mack would someday take the helm at Morgan Stanley, but it wasn’t to be. Chairman and CEO Philip Purcell, who had landed as Mack’s boss after his Dean Witter bought out Morgan Stanley, didn’t have any thought of leaving. After a tempestuous relationship, Mack finally left in 2001, three years after his co-CEO proposal was rejected. Morgan Stanley denied there was ever a handshake agreement.