Wall Street's most eligible banker Fleming waits for suitor

Wed Feb 12, 2014 7:20am EST
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By Lauren Tara LaCapra

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street power brokers are betting that Greg Fleming will be chief executive of a major U.S. company one day, but no one is quite sure of which one or when.

Fleming, the head of Morgan Stanley's wealth and asset management businesses, is on the bank board's list of candidates who could potentially succeed Chief Executive James Gorman, according to sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

But colleagues and recruiters say he is also a flight risk for Morgan Stanley.

He is an external candidate for top jobs at companies including BlackRock Inc and American Express Co as part of their boards' regular succession planning.

Fleming also has a friendly rapport with Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive of archrival Goldman Sachs Group Inc, although that bank has never gone outside its own ranks to pick a chief executive officer. Some people close to Fleming say the he could even run a company outside of financial services.

It is unclear if a suitable CEO job will be available any time soon. Sources familiar with the thinking of Morgan Stanley's board said directors believe there is time to work on a succession plan. Gorman, 55, has been in the job for only four years, and directors have no desire to replace him at this time.

A Morgan Stanley spokesman said Fleming has no plans to leave the Wall Street bank. Fleming feels that his work at Morgan Stanley is not finished, and he is in no hurry to become a chief executive, the spokesman said.

The other institutions with which he has been linked did not offer any comment. Blankfein could not be reached for comment.   Continued...

Greg Fleming, president of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, speaks during the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in New York June 4, 2013. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton