- Franck Petitgas, Morgan Stanley’s top international executive and a 29-year veteran of the bank, is stepping down from his role Jan. 1, according to a memo seen Monday by the Financial Times and Reuters.
- Petitgas intends to stay on as a senior adviser and to represent the bank at events such as the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
- Petitgas’ move could be seen as part of a generational shift at the bank. Morgan Stanley in May 2021 appointed two co-presidents, a co-head of strategy, a chief operating officer and a new CFO, setting up a race to succeed CEO James Gorman, 64, as the bank’s top executive.
At this year’s annual shareholder meeting, Gorman said the C-suite shake-up put Morgan Stanley in a position to thrive “for many decades after I’m gone,” because it installed “both a generation of leadership immediately behind me and the generation behind them.”
At 61, Petitgas may see himself aging out of the advancement process. In Monday’s memo, Ted Pick — one of the co-presidents Morgan Stanley named last year — described Petitgas as “a world class professional” and a “trusted adviser” to Gorman and himself “as we navigate the complexities of a global business and client base.”
Petitgas joined Morgan Stanley as a vice president in 1993, moved up to managing director in 1997 and joined the bank’s operating committee in 2012. Along the way, he ran the bank’s capital-markets business and served as global co-head of investment banking.
Petitgas was crucial to fostering Morgan Stanley’s relationship with Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil exporter — which the bank helped to take public in 2019.
Others in Petitgas’ generation have left the bank in recent years — notably, Morgan Stanley’s former president, Colm Kelleher, who has since become chair at Swiss banking giant UBS.
Gorman, meanwhile, said in 2021 that he intended to remain CEO for at least three more years. When a shareholder pressed Gorman for an update in May — asking whether he would retire soon — Gorman replied, “‘Soon’ is the operative word, and the answer to that is no.
“But retire we all must do eventually, or die in our seats, which I have no intention of doing,” Gorman added.