Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer James Gorman shook up leadership of the firm’s massive wealth-management division, assigning one of its co-heads to focus on bank units offering loans and deposit accounts.
The move affects two executives who’ve been widely seen as contenders to replace Gorman in the years ahead: Shelley O’Connor, who co-led wealth management with Andy Saperstein, will run two regulated bank entities, which the company is looking to expand, the CEO wrote Tuesday in a memo to staff.
“Given the criticality of the banks to the future growth of our business, I have asked Shelley to dedicate her full-time efforts to leading them,” Gorman wrote. She helped create them, and “her extensive wealth-management experience and leadership make her uniquely suited for this important role.”
The shakeup follows last month’s announcement that President Colm Kelleher, once viewed as a possible successor to Gorman, will leave at the end of June.
The departure of the 61-year-old company veteran opened up the competition among the senior ranks to someday ascend to the top of company. Other contenders include Ted Pick, who last year rose to head the investment-banking and trading division, bolstering his position as a potential CEO candidate. Pick, O’Connor and Saperstein are all in their 50s.
The company created Morgan Stanley Private Bank after the financial crisis to increase deposits and lend more to customers. Together, that unit and the other — called Morgan Stanley Bank — offer a range of services, such as facilitating payments and providing home loans and other credit lines. Clients include corporations, institutional investors and wealthy consumers.