MS’s Kelleher ascends the throne as Taubman exits
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Opinion

MS’s Kelleher ascends the throne as Taubman exits

It was the month, rather than the night, of long knives in investment banking this November.

At Morgan Stanley, Colm Kelleher, co-president of the institutional securities business, ascended the throne of king of the investment bank and fellow co-president Paul Taubman was carried out of the building (as it were!). Since 2010, Kelleher and Taubman had performed an uneasy double actat the firm’s institutional securities unit, with Kelleher responsible for trading and sales and Taubman ruling the advisory roost. There was a fierce rivalry between the two men, who had very different personalities – Kelleher, sardonic, quick-witted, cutting and gregarious; Taubman reserved, angular, smart but bordering on condescending.


At Morgan Stanley, Colm Kelleher ascended the throne of king of the investment bank and fellow co-president Paul Taubman was carried out of the building (as it were!)

So why, after nearly three years of bickering (indeed some say open warfare) in the institutional securities business, did CEO James Gorman decide to elevate Kelleher and eliminate Taubman? A source said: "Colm is clearly the more likeable character. And maybe the Facebook disaster gave Gorman the chance he needed to initiate change." As devoted readers might remember, Morgan Stanley was the lead underwriter for the much-hyped, but poorly executed, Facebook initial public offering this May. A well-connected mole muses: "After three years, Gorman can hardly be accused of being hasty and it was time to make a choice.


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