The former Morgan Stanley CEO is kvetching about "Kids these days!"
Angelo Mozilo is having schadenfreude for breakfast.
[caption id="attachment_76125" align="alignleft" width="260" caption="How people smile when they're plotting cutting your brake lines."][/caption] Earlier this week, it was announced that Zoe Cruz would be closing her hedge fund, Voras Capital Management. Cruz started the fund in 2010, a few years after she was famously fired by John Mack at Morgan Stanley (where she was co-President), for reasons that remain unclear to this day but include theories like: a) the belief that she was responsible for losing the firm a few billion dollars b) a lot of people disliked her-- including this guy named Vikram Pandi who was "not a fan"-- and told Mack they would leave if he made Cruz CEO c) Mack had to blame either himself or Cruz for some losses and he chose her. d) She was, you know, a girl, and the boys didn’t like that. Regardless, the ousting was probably mildly to majorly humiliating for ZC and since Mack-- who she was extremely close with prior to the personnel change-- was the one who told her to hit the bricks, it would have been fair to assume she spent a least a little time fantasizing about sticking pins in a Mack voodoo doll and/or slashing his tires. In 2009, though, Mack and Zoe had lunch and she told him she wanted to start a hedge fund. And maybe it was it was the fact that he was feeling nostalgic, maybe it was the fact that tragedy + time = comedy, maybe it was the fact that he was still riding high from "saving" Morgan Stanley, maybe it was the wine, maybe it was that he was feeling bad about the unceremonious canning and thought "Oh, why not just give the poor girl some money" but Mack went back to the office and "told bank executives that he would like to help her start her new investment business, according to people familiar with the matter." And when they said, "But John, didn't you fire her for supposedly taking on too much risk and losing the firm $4 billion," he said "[Well], her track record was a very good track record." So Morgan Stanley gave Cruz $20 million and she was on her way. And while we can't say for sure, and we're not suggesting money necessarily heals all wounds, the $20 million and the stamp of approval and the fact that she could say to investors she was trying to raise money from ,"Hey look, even the guy who fired me wants in" probably helped smooth things over and improve MS's standing in the Cruz-missile's eyes. She likely even had nice things to say about her former employer at social gatherings! And then this happened: Last month, Morgan Stanley asked for its money back, disappointed by the hedge fund's performance and worried about the shrinking size of Ms. Cruz's firm, according to people familiar with the matter...The retreat by Morgan Stanley was part of broader moves to sell off assets that Chief Executive James Gorman felt exposed the company to unnecessary risk or otherwise didn't serve clients, the people said...On Thursday, the 57-year-old Ms. Cruz told clients in a letter that she has decided to close down Voras Capital Management. The letter cited "the difficult capital-raising environment for new funds and the enormous uncertainty and volatility in the markets," according to a person who saw the letter. It was signed by Ms. Cruz. Oooo, that's not good. In fact, it's worse than if they'd never given her the $20 mill at all. But to give and take back? Yikes. All those nice things Cruz said about MS and Co? Strike them from the record because they are so over! Don't call, don't write, don't cry don't beg 'cause you're done! Finished! Morgan Stanely Bailed On Firm [WSJ]
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]
Specifically, her rights to Perrier on the company dime. It's unclear what this woman's name is so moving forward she'll simply be referred to as The One With Brass Balls And A Dislike Of Tap. The daily Seamless stipend is considered sacred for employees, and any abuse of the system appears generally overlooked by higher-ups. When Lehman Brothers went under, for instance, Morgan Stanley lowered the Seamless limit from $30 to $25, much to the anger of workers. "People went nuts," recalls a former employee. "Every so often there were these fireside chats with [Morgan Stanley CEO] John Mack 'Da Knife' and a collection of analysts. One of the women on the call asked Mack to raise the limit to $30 again. Mack, not really having paid much attention to expenses, was surprised to hear it had been reduced. Concerned, he asked her why she needed $30 instead of just $25. She said that with the new reduction, 'I can't order my Perrier anymore.'" The next day, as legend has it, there was an entire case of Perrier on her desk--courtesy of John Mack. In related news, the Morgan Stanley Seamless stipend is currently at $20. And while filing formal complaints at the top might have worked when MS was a free-for-all orgy of sparkling water and Italian pastries and whatever else your heart desired,** anyone considering pleading his/her case to James Gorman re: why this just won't do should also think about boxing their shit up first, lest a hasty exit be necessary. How Wall Street Bankers Use Seamless To Feast On Free Lobster, Steak, And Beer [Fast Company] **Particularly if what your heart desired was a pair of fierce as fuck shoes.
We couldn’t help notice that some clueless shareholder had the audacity to ask John Mack whether he really told Tim Geithner to go fuck himself in the midst of the financial crisis. Mack has admitted several times that Andrew Ross Sorkin’s account of him in the book “Too Big To Fail” was accurate. Mack’s actual words, according to the book, were, “tell him to get fucked,” or something along those lines.