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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Mack Dumps Merin

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

The staff shakeup continues at Morgan Stanley. The latest top executive to lose a job after the ouster of ex-CEO Phil Purcell was Mitchell Merin, chief of the wirehouse's asset management arm. Merin had been at the firm for nearly a quarter century and was considered a Purcell loyalist. His ouster comes on the heels of reports that new CEO John Mack is purging Purcell followers from top posts at the firm.

For Morgan Stanley's asset management arm the loss of Merin may mean that the unit can start to regain its business focus. Owen Thomas, currently the head of Morgan's real estate business, will take over Merin's duties until a permanent successor is hired. That search reportedly began in August.

Top executives at firms the do business with Morgan Stanley asset management have told the MFWire.com that the firm has been drifting since the board and Purcell began their power struggle months ago. Mack took over as CEO in July.

Merin oversaw the melding of a number of asset management business into one unit as the wirehouse grew during the nineties. Those acquisitions included Chicago-based Van Kampan and Miller, Anderson and Sherrerd, a Pennsylvania-based institutional shop.

Last week Mack announced that he had lured James Gorman, Merrill Lynch's brokerage chief, to head Morgan Stanley's sales force starting in February. Gorman, a former McKinsey consultant, led Merrill Lynch's revampment of its broker force and is credit with creating the "Total Merrill" campaign. He takes over from Stephen Crawford who was fired by Mack.

Morgan Stanley Asset Management claims $416 billion in assets under management in regulatory filings. 

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