Exclusive: Headhunter contacts Morgan Stanley's Fleming about CEO job at BNY Mellon

Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:57am EDT
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(Story corrects Cavanagh's title in fifth paragraph to co-chief operating officer from chief operating officer)

By Lauren Tara LaCapra and Svea Herbst-Bayliss

NEW YORK/BOSTON (Reuters) - At the prompting of at least one director of Bank of New York Mellon Corp, an executive recruiting firm has come up with a list of potential candidates to replace embattled CEO Gerald Hassell, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

At least one of the candidates, Gregory Fleming, who runs wealth and investment management at Morgan Stanley, has been contacted by the recruiting firm Spencer Stuart to gauge his interest in the job at the world's largest custody bank, according to the two individuals and two additional sources.

The overture to Fleming does not appear to represent an official search effort by BNY Mellon's full 15-member board, which has so far supported Hassell despite rising pressure from activist investors concerned by his performance. Reuters sought comment from all of the directors, but none who were reached would speak on the record.

In a statement that it attributed to its board of directors, BNY Mellon said: "The Board is not conducting a search and fully supports our CEO. Any suggestion to the contrary is completely false." A spokesman for BNY Mellon said that Hassell was not available to comment.

Other names on the list of potential candidates include Mary Erdoes, who runs JPMorgan Chase & Co's asset management business, and Michael Cavanagh, a former JPMorgan executive who is now co-chief operating officer at private equity firm Carlyle Group LP, one of the sources said.

It is not clear whether Spencer Stuart has contacted those people, and none of them responded to requests for comment. Spokespeople for JPMorgan, Carlyle, Morgan Stanley and Spencer Stuart declined to comment.


Gregory Fleming, president of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Morgan Stanley Investment Management, speaks during the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in New York June 16, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid