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Blue Blood and Mutiny: The Fight for the Soul of Morgan Stanley Paperback – October 21, 2008
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About the Author
Patricia Beard is the author of After the Ball and hundreds of national magazine articles. She has been an editor at Elle, Town & Country, and Mirabella. Beard lives in upstate New York.
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Top Customer Reviews
Eight "advisory directors," retired and respected former partners, set out to rescue Morgan Stanley and restore its name and culture. Called the "Group of Eight" and sometimes the "Eight Grumpy Old Men" they take a stand for old-fashioned business values.
Blue Blood and Mutiny reads like a novel. And it delivers an important message to business-ethical behavior, hard work and understanding of business fundamentals are more important and more beneficial than the gimmick-riden pursuit of a higher bottom line. This real life story will be the textbook case study in value driven management.
When Morgan Stanley and Dean Witter merged in 1997, it invited a clash of corporate culture. The architects of the merger responded to these concerns by pointing out that Morgan Stanley had absorbed a large number of new employees in the 1980s when, and after, it went public.
While training is meant primarily to provide skills to an employee for his next assignment, other lessons were informally delivered. Everyone sees the manager wearing a suit jacket for any trip outside the office, but inside the four walls the attire is shirt and tie, sans jacket. Then one day, an off the cuff remark is made explaining that this is no accident. These lessons in corporate refinement at MS were not part of Dean Witter.
Cited as a merger of equals, the marriage of Dean Witter and MS never operated as such. John Mack expected Philip Purcell to cede control of the company after a short stint as CEO. Instead, he forced many senior MS executives out of the company. Some remaining employees felt the hand-picked replacements were solely based on their loyalty to Purcell - damn their qualifications.
There's an old Wall Street saying that goes, 'If you want risk, take the A train.' Purcell and some of his Dean Witter executives lived by this maxim by avoiding risk at all costs. The Morgan Stanley culture realized that risk could be managed, and maybe quite well by working better and smarter - thus resulting in greater profits.Read more ›
Unfortunately, firms such as Morgan Stanley do not own massive producing assets. Their assets are their culture and the employees who walk in and out of the door each day. The culture quickly disintegrates and top level employees start walking out the door to not return. But who will lead the coup? Former managers step back into the mix with first a private campaign but then a very public campaign generating bad press in soap opera like drama.
Ultimately, this drama plays out and order is restored. But an interesting loss to the firm who has reappeared is Vikram Pandit, the current President of Citicorp. He is considered so talented that Citi paid a massive amount of money to buy his fund and roll him in to Citi. With the current credit crisis it's still early to tell if this has been a good hire but with his CFO leaving today in a power struggle it's not looking great.
Overall, a very good, detailed financial book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is a hatchet job. Not even close to being a balanced account of what happened inside the firm. In many ways history will side with PurcellPublished 9 months ago by Robert Hunt
Gets off to a slow start reviewing the Morgan Stanley history but becomes a page-turner when Beard gets into the effort to oust the CEO.Published 12 months ago by ecotraveler
A deep and wide recount of the Dean Witter merger with Morgan Stanley, the winners, the losers and the fight to bring the Firm back. Read morePublished on January 25, 2013 by Bruce A. Meyer
Beard gives an accurate historical account of the building of Morgan Stanley out of JP Morgan in 1935 before focusing on the worsening direction, culture, and corporate performance... Read morePublished on December 28, 2012 by John D'Alessandro
I'm somewhat disappointed by this book, even though it's well written and well researched. Yes, I learned a lot about the world of finance and the history of Morgan Stanley, but I... Read morePublished on April 28, 2011 by Randy Kadish
Beard's book is an entertaining account of the revolt within Morgan Stanley told from the perspective of the mutineers but would have been a far more interesting story if it were... Read morePublished on December 1, 2010 by Bjorn
Book arrived on time as mentioned. Also the Book was New and In Great Condition.Published on May 23, 2010 by AP
Patricia Beard has done an excellent job chronicling this story, making it a must read for anyone involved in serving on a board of a public or private company. Read morePublished on April 11, 2010 by staceman