You Don't Want To Know What Happens When James Gorman Clears His Throat More Than 5 Times

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Serious with colleagues, even a bit remote, Mr. Gorman can be a very demanding boss. “People looking for a John Mack-style slap on the back are not going to get it with James,” said one longtime Wall Streeter. “If you’re looking for regular affirmation, it’s going to be a lonely existence.” [...] When Mr. Gorman is uncomfortable or has bad news to deliver, he often clears his throat, and as a result, throat-clearing has entered the firm’s lexicon as code for trouble, as in: “How was the meeting with James?” “There was a lot of throat-clearing.” “Sorry to hear that.”-- New York Times, JUNE 28, 2014

For those Morgan Stanley employees who have been summoned to Gorman's office but are unsure how to interpret the clears, please refer to the following:

  • 1 throat clear = You're doing a pretty good job but you smell like you woke up on the floor of O'Donaghy's. Go home and take a shower.
  • 2 clears = You're meeting the goals we set for you during your last performance review, but I've received reports that you've been showing up late every day for the last two weeks. Cut it out or you'll get The Chair.1
  • 3 clears = Word is you want more money. Well you're not getting it. If you don't like that, you're free to clean out your desk, or we can have someone box up your things and send them to you.
  • 4 clears = You blew $3 billion on an another fucking Atlantic City casino. What are we going to do to you? You've heard of William Bryan Jennings, yes?
  • 5 clears = You've lost the firm an enormous amount of money taking on a dumb amount of risk, you've lost my respect, you've lost your job. I have a button underneath my desk and when I press it, Charlie Gasparino is going to appear and escort you out of the building. He's been given permission to do whatever he wants to you once you're through the lobby.
  • 6 clears = You don't want to know.

James Gorman of Morgan Stanley, Going Against Type [NYT]

1. "Still, Mr. Gorman has his less-uptight moments. When the head of equity trading, Ted Pick, was late for meetings several times recently, Mr. Gorman put his chair in the corner, prompting a laugh from the group when Mr. Pick eventually arrived."

Related

James Gorman Will Say Something Nice About Wall Street When Wall Street Earns It

If you're looking for a cheerleader, go bark up another tree. “Say you want to be out ahead of it and give a lot of speeches and talk about all the good we’re doing,” Gorman said today at an industry conference in New York. “And then some trader does some stupid thing like this guy at UBS did and he’s in jail and all bets are off,” Gorman said. He was referring to Kweku Adoboli, the UBS AG trader convicted of fraud this month in the largest unauthorized trading loss in British history...Traders at New York-based Morgan Stanley had too much latitude in the past, “what I call having an outsized sandbox,” Gorman, 54, said at the conference, which was sponsored by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. “Until we can be really confident we’ve got discipline around the sandboxes, I think you have to be really careful not to be holier than thou,” Gorman said. “We’re going to be in the doghouse for a while.” Incidentally, this would a good time to mention that Gorman's bonus policy instituted last January-- STFU or GTFO-- still stands.