Greg Fleming Hires More Morgan Stanley Pros for Rockefeller Venture
Greg Fleming is making the most of the fact that his non-solicit agreement with Morgan Stanley is no longer in effect, hiring a slew of former aides and operational professionals to help him in his new role as president and chief executive of Rockefeller Capital Management.
On Monday, he announced that Christopher Randazzo, chief information officer for global wealth management and investment management at Morgan Stanley, has joined Rockefeller Capital as head of wealth management and of the burgeoning family office company’s technology and operations.
Rockefeller Capital, which formally launched last week as the successor company to the Rockefeller & Co. family office, also plans to hire Morgan Stanley strategist Sanjeevan Iswara in a senior role in coming days, according to a person briefed on the plans.
Iswara, who had been with Morgan Stanley for almost 11 years, resigned on Friday. He was most recently an executive director of wealth management strategy, according to his LinkedIn profile. A spokeswoman at Rockefeller declined to comment on Iswara, and a Morgan Stanley spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a memo sent late Friday afternoon to Morgan Stanley wealth management employees, the firm said that technology veteran Sal Cucchiara will be assuming Randazzo’s functions as head of wealth management technology “effective immediately,” a sign that the former tech chief’s departure was unexpected.
The memo, co-signed by wealth co-heads Shelley O’Connor and Andy Saperstein and by company technology and international head Robert Rooney, said that Randazzo had left “to pursue other opportunities.” Morgan Stanley Chief Executive James Gorman used the same phrase to describe Fleming’s departure as head of wealth management in January 2016.
Gorman had recruited Fleming to run both wealth and investment management at Morgan Stanley from Merrill Lynch, where both had been senior executives. Fleming, in turn, lured Randazzo to Morgan Stanley in 2013 from Merrill Lynch as Morgan Stanley was remediating its troubled integration of Smith Barney platforms. Randazzo had worked at Merrill in a variety of technology roles since 1994, according to a news release from Rockefeller.
Fleming last week named four other executives he had previously worked with to his senior management team at Rockefeller, which has been recapitalized with money from private equity firm Viking Global Investors.
They include former Morgan Stanley Wealth management committee member Harry Singh as chief operating officer, former Morgan Stanley investment management chief operating officer and merchant banking head Ed Moriarty as CFO, and former Morgan Stanley wealth and investment management “senior advisor” Jeffrey Shames as Rockefeller’s senior strategy advisor.
Fleming signed a non-solicitation agreement when he left Morgan Stanley 26 months ago, but it expired in January 2017, according to regulatory filings.
Fleming’s ability to capture brokers from Morgan Stanley is less assured, given the firm’s withdrawal in November from the Protocol for Broker Recruiting. The exit allows Morgan Stanley to seek court orders restraining brokers from calling clients, and it has done so with mixed success.
A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman verified the authenticity of the memo about Cucchiara’s ascension to run wealth management technology.
“Sal is ideally suited to this role having a long history of leading large and complex technology organizations,” the internal Morgan Stanley memo said. “Before joining Morgan Stanley in late 2016, he spent 20 years at Merrill Lynch where he helped build and maintain their wealth management platform.”
In addition to overseeing desktop, mobile and investment systems at Morgan Stanley, Cucchiara will focus on “ensuring platform stability, speed and cyber security,” the memo said.
It also noted that Morgan Stanley’s Merav Pepere will continue to head banking technology, a crucial position as the firm tries to increase its ability to collect deposits from, and make loans to, its wealthy retail brokerage customers.