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The Ted Pick guide to making CEO of Morgan Stanley

Ted Pick, the head of Morgan Stanley's investment bank, is going to become Morgan Stanley's new CEO. He found out yesterday at 5pm EST when he was walked into a room and was given a standing ovation. If you want to be like Ted, there are a few techniques you might to integrate into your self-management toolkit. 

1. Ask questions at town halls

Pick, who has long been current Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman's most favourite person, first came to Gorman's attention when he asked a question at a town hall 20 years ago. “I thought, that guy’s sharp,” Gorman told the Financial Times. Presumably, Pick was not asking how many days a week he could work from home. 

2. Resist the temptation to jump from bank to bank

Pick joined Morgan Stanley in 1990 and has been there ever since. During his time at Morgan Stanley he has, however, occupied a succession of roles, including head of institutional equities, head of equity capital markets, head of institutional equities and head of the investment bank. He's "fiercely loyal", a colleague told the Financial Times.

3. Flatter your boss 

You don't get to the top without judicious flattery. Pick said some nice things about Gorman in his first interview after being named the CEO incumbent: “James is the architect of transforming the firm...He had a singular vision for the place, and over 15 years took us from near bankruptcy to a winning place.”

4. Be a fun guy 

Pick isn't just loyal and obsequious, his former colleague also told the FT that he's "a fun guy to have around.” In a representative Pick joke, when the fixed income business was struggling in 2017, Pick reportedly described it as having “omentum”— momentum with an “m” so small it was invisible.

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5. Judicious cursing 

Pick previously had a reputation for swearing. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2019 that former Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack would prank Pick by asking the compliance department to flag his emails for excessive use of expletives. He's use of language is thought to be more considered now.

6. Strategic use of the elevator 

As young equities trader, Pick reportedly regularly took elevators with then-CEO John Mack and took the opportunity to talk to Mack about the markets. 

7. Signature cost-cutting 

Shareholders like a CEO who can make hard decisions In 2015, Pick and his lieutenant Sam Kellie Smith cut 25% of Morgan Stanley's fixed income headcount in 2015. It's since hired as many fixed income traders back again, but that doesn't matter.

8. Fortuitous birthright 

Pick is from a financial family and had his wedding written up in the New York Times.

9. Embracing the enemy 

Pick's unsuccessful rivals for the CEO roles - Andy Saperstein and Dan Simkowitz, the heads of wealth management and asset management businesses respectively - are staying on at the firm (Simkowitz will now be running the investment bank). 

This is unusual: usually, unsuccessful candidates leave. Witness Harvey Schwarz, who was beaten by David Solomon to the CEO position at Goldman Sachs and is now CEO of Carlyle Group.  

Saperstein and Simkowitz may yet leave, but for the moment they are embracing Gorman's ethos of the ego-less succession. Pick will need to bring them into the fold, even though Saperstein made some slightly negative observations about the investment bank run by Pick in June. 

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: +44 7537 182250 (SMS, Whatsapp or voicemail). Telegram: @SarahButcher. Click here to fill in our anonymous form, or email Signal also available  

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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