When he resigned from his role of CEO this year, Morgan Stanley chairman John Mack made sure he installed an ally in his old position. Someone he was close with. Who wouldn’t mind if he kept his old office, and would be cool with — would maybe even enjoy — him occasionally interrupting meetings or phone calls by bursting into the room in his boxers shouting, “Hey I’ve got a great idea!” through a mouthful of cannoli. To that end, he picked James Gorman, an Australian lawyer and amateur boxer with whom he goes way back — Gorman was one of the first major hires Mack made when he took over as CEO in 2005. “Listen, this would not work if I wasn’t his man,” Gorman told the Times this weekend of his partnership with Mack. “We have a terrific relationship.” How terrific, exactly?
The Times provides the following details, which give us a good idea of the exact nature of this relationship:
• “In Mr. Mack’s office hangs a printed, signed and framed e-mail message from Mr. Gorman, richly complimenting Mr. Mack for his leadership during the financial crisis.”
•”On a recent afternoon, the two men posed in Mr. Gorman’s doorway, arms around each other’s shoulders, demonstrating their camaraderie.”
•”Mr. Mack says he’s looking forward to spending more time at his Tuscan vineyard and shows off a picture of himself standing beside Cher backstage in Las Vegas.”
Not that there’s anything wrong with this close friendship! Unless, of course, you’re a shareholder who was hoping for a dramatic change at the head of the company.