Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman to Step Down: Three Potential Candidates in the Running

James Gorman, the long-serving CEO and chairman of Morgan Stanley, has announced that he will step down as CEO within the next year and transition to executive chairman.[0] Gorman has led the bank since 2009, taking the reins in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Under his leadership, Morgan Stanley has undergone a major strategic overhaul, which has been accelerated by the acquisition of E*Trade and Eaton Vance. The bank’s growing reliance on a dual engine of the investment bank and its giant wealth management business has made it one of the best performers among peers in the past decade.[1] Gorman’s successor will inherit an institution that has been completely transformed since he took over.[2]

The board of directors has identified three potential candidates to replace Gorman, with co-presidents Ted Pick and Andy Saperstein and head of investment management Dan Simkowitz in the running.[3] Pick is seen as a frontrunner for his leadership of the equities business, having overseen global sales and trading since 2015 and becoming head of the institutional securities group in 2018.[4] Saperstein runs the wealth management division, while Simkowitz oversees asset management.[2]

Gorman’s announcement has sparked a battle among the three executives for their boss’s job, with each having their strengths and weaknesses. Pick has overseen a significant overhaul of Morgan Stanley’s fixed-income unit, while Saperstein has built the wealth management division into a $4.5 trillion Wall Street juggernaut. Simkowitz is the only candidate with extensive experience on both sides of the firm, but analysts say he is the least likely winner.[5]

Gorman’s departure comes after 12 years with the bank, during which he transformed a Wall Street bank into a wealth management giant. The specific timing of the CEO transition has not been determined, but it is the board’s and Gorman’s expectation that it will occur at some point in the next 12 months.[6] After stepping down as CEO, Gorman will serve as executive chairman “for a period of time.”[1]

Morgan Stanley’s stock dipped slightly in early Friday trading to $83.90 following the announcement, but it has risen more than 178% under Gorman’s tenure, compared to an 85% gain for the Dow Jones U.S. Banks Index benchmark.[7] The next CEO will face the challenge of building on Gorman’s success in turning the firm around and posting the best share performance among major US banks over the past decade.[5]

0. “What Gorman’s Departure Means for Morgan Stanley Advisors” ThinkAdvisor, 19 May. 2023,

1. “Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman to step down within 12 months” Crain’s New York Business, 19 May. 2023,

2. “Breaking: Morgan Stanley CEO To Step Down Amid Crypto-Fuelled Bank Failures” CoinGape, 19 May. 2023,

3. “James Gorman’s exit unleashes battle to be new CEO of Morgan Stanley” eFinancialCareers, 19 May. 2023,

4. “Meet the 2 Very Different Execs in the Running to Be Morgan Stanley’s CEO” Business Insider, 19 May. 2023,

5. “Here are the top 3 candidates to replace Gorman as Morgan Stanley CEO” InvestmentNews, 19 May. 2023,

6. “Morgan Stanley CEO Gorman will step down within the next 12 months” Financial Planning, 19 May. 2023,

7. “Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman Announces Resignation” The Jewish Press –, 20 May. 2023,