“Derek Jeter’s Banker Joins Rockefellers in New Wall Street Venture,” The Wall Street Journal headline announces, begging the question: Who is this fresh-faced gentleman who will help transform the Rockefeller family office into an super-rich advisory and asset management arm of a hedge fund? Some wunderkind managing Derek Jeter’s millions out of a private-banking office in Tampa who caught David Rockefeller Jr.’s eye? Some veteran dealmaker whose work swinging the Miami Marlins Jeter’s way is giving him a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run his own thing?
As it happens, “Derek Jeter’s Banker” is Greg Fleming. Yes, that same Greg Fleming who was formerly the number two man at Merrill Lynch and number three man at Morgan Stanley, and once widely seen as a leading candidate to run both. The same Greg Fleming who engineered some of the biggest deals in Wall Street history, like selling Merrill’s money-management business to BlackRock and then suckering Bank of America to pay $50 billion for Merrill itself as the bank was on the brink of collapse. The same Greg Fleming who’s been lying low since his shock departure from Morgan Stanley two years ago, content to do some part-time teaching at Yale Law, part-time advising at Axiom Capital Management and part-time directing at Putnam Investments.
Since leaving Morgan Stanley in 2016 amid signs he wouldn’t succeed Mr. Gorman, he has flirted with a few high-profile Wall Street firms and tended to a client roster that includes Canadian billionaire Paul Desmarais and former New York Yankee Derek Jeter, whom Mr. Fleming advised on the $1.2 billion consortium purchase of the Miami Marlins baseball team….
“The resonance of the [Rockefeller] name is huge,” Mr. Fleming said. “Rather than having to spend time putting the brand on the map, I can focus on operating it and talking to clients.”
Now, perhaps the Journal copy desk was aiming to cash in on interest in last night’s interminable American League Wild Card game between Jeter’s former team and some punching bags from the upper Midwest. Still, “Derek Jeter’s Banker” is quite a demotion for a man who could have been one of the Big Six, a 25-year Wall Street veteran confident enough to have turned down potential offers to run Barclays and the Bank of New York. Surely, “Former Top Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch Executive Joins Rockefellers in New Wall Street Venture,” or “Veteran Dealmaker Joins Rockefellers in New Wall Street Venture,” or “Greg Fleming Joins Rockefellers in New Wall Street Venture” would be more appropriate. Even—given his similar role in the sale of SkyBridge Capital to his place in the Marlins sale, and the relative importance of the named client—“Scaramucci Banker Joins Rockefellers in New Wall Street Venture.”