John Mack: If I Wasn't A Banker, I Would Have Been A Women's Shoe Salesman

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As you may have heard, yesterday afternoon, Morgan Stanley held a little good-bye party for John Mack, who will step down as chairman at the end of the year. What are Mack's plans for the retirement phase of his life? Will he sail around the world? Restore old cars? Work on his golf game? Take up fly fishing? Move back down to his native North Carolina? Teach a course on business at his alma mater, Duke University? While those would all be admirable pursuits, it's not likely Mack will have the time for them. Because John Mack, you see, has his sights set on something bigger. The realization of a dream, if you will. The dream of selling women's shoes.

According to someone who attended yesterday's gathering, Mack "talked about how if he hadn't been a banker, he would have wanted to be a women's shoe salesman. He said he loves watching the fierce New York ladies trying on Manolo Blahniks at Bergdorf Goodman--and recommends that all men go there and just sit and watch-- because ladies will just walk up to you and ask you for your opinion." In fact: "Once he told a woman, 'Those are the ones. Get them.' And the manager came up to him and said 'Can you come here every day??'" Apparently Mack told people that his retirement is going to include being "a part-time salesman in the women's shoe department at Berdorf's." While it's unclear if he's officially applied for the job yet, it goes without saying we support this wholeheartedly. Sure, there'll be some tough days when he wonders why he got into all this (particularly when a certain Treasury Secretary looking to settle a score shows up in drag and after making Mack run back and forth fetching twenty different pairs of shoes in three different sizes, declares "You know what? I think I'm going to buy these on Zappos- don't want to pay the NYC sales tax"), but it'll be worth it.

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John Mack Takes Another Job That Doesn't Involve Selling Shoes At Bergdorf Goodman

Earlier today, KKR announced that former Morgan Stanley Chairman and CEO John Mack will be joining the private equity firm as a senior adviser, "supporting new investing activities and providing counsel to KKR portfolio companies." Including the new gig, Mack is now working three jobs, the others being "part-time adviser" to Morgan Stanley and author (as previously noted, he's working on a book). And while it's nice to see him keeping busy, you know what these little diversions don't leave a lot of time for? Going after his dream. As you may recall, back in December Mack told a room full of Morgan Stanley employees that if he hadn't become a banker, he would have been a women's shoe salesman and that in the years since he chose one path over another, the former has never come close to replacing the latter when it comes to things that light a fire inside him. Even when he was CEO of Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley, Mack found time to stop by Bergdorf Goodman and "watch the fierce New York ladies trying on Manolo Blahniks," often advising them on what to purchase, based on which pairs spoke to him and which did not ("Those-- those are the ones. Get them," he would say with undeniably certainty). Which was why, Mack said with a glimmer in his eye, his retirement would include being a "part-time salesman at Berdorf's." And, yet, here we are, more than three months later, and no such job has been procured. What's more, a spokeswoman for the department store has said that despite possessing an undeniable love and appreciation for shoes and being a born salesman, in order to work the floor, Mack would have to go through the same training program, just like everyone else, and he hasn't even filled out the application to do so. Why the hold up? It seems pretty obvious that when it comes to the thing that makes him feel alive someone is scared. Not scared to fail-- hell, he knows he can move that product. But scared the reality won't live up to the dream. Scared that years from now, selling shoes will just be a slog like everything else. So he takes these bull shit little advisory jobs so he can say he "just doesn't have the time" when the topic comes up, knowing full well that he goes to sleep at night and wakes up in the morning thinking about women's shoes and that nothing, and we mean nothing, will ever compare to feeling he'll get running back and forth to the stock room juggling six different styles in 3 different sizes, working his ass off to make that sale. The sooner he realizes that, the better. He obviously told the MS people about his little-known passion/plan for reason: to make himself accountable. If you see Mack today or next week or the week after, [tell him to go for it.] John Mack To Join KKR As Senior Adviser [Deal Journal]