And then there were three.
Jon Pruzan, Morgan Stanley’s chief operating officer, is leaving the bank Jan. 31, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing Monday.
Pruzan was one of four executives seen as a potential successor to CEO James Gorman, who has led Morgan Stanley since 2010.
Pruzan became the bank’s COO in May 2021, amid a C-suite shake-up that saw Gorman name securities executive Ted Pick and wealth-management chief Andy Saperstein as co-presidents. At the same time, Gorman appointed Dan Simkowitz, Morgan Stanley’s investment-management chief, to become the bank’s co-head of strategy, alongside Saperstein.
“I am highly confident one of them will be the CEO in the future,” Gorman said of the executives in 2021.
Gorman has been cryptic as to when that succession might take place. He reportedly told the bank’s board in 2021 that he intended to remain CEO for at least three more years.
But when a shareholder asked Gorman at last year’s annual meeting whether he would retire soon, Gorman replied, “‘Soon’ is the operative word, and the answer to that is no.” He hedged, however, “But retire we all must do eventually, or die in our seats, which I have no intention of doing.”
Pruzan is a 29-year veteran of Morgan Stanley, according to his LinkedIn profile. He joined the bank’s financial institutions group in 1994, and rose to become the unit’s co-chief in 2010. He became CFO in 2015, when Ruth Porat left that role for a similar one at Google, according to Bloomberg. Pruzan remained CFO until his move to COO in 2021.
Pruzan, 54, “has had a seat at the table and a voice in the decision-making process for many of the key decisions that the firm has made over the past decade,” Gorman said Monday in a message to staff seen by Bloomberg and Reuters.
“He has been a trusted adviser to me for many years,” Gorman said in the memo.
His departure comes roughly a month after Morgan Stanley laid off about 1,600 employees, or roughly 2% of its workforce.
Pruzan plans to pursue other opportunities, Gorman said.