Shortly before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Morgan Stanley co-President Ted Pick was asked to join his boss in the board room.
“I thought it was a good idea to join him — and to grab my jacket,” he said.
Pick, 54, was greeted with a standing ovation and the news that he would succeed James Gorman, 65, as the firm’s chief executive officer. The Morgan Stanley lifer had won Wall Street’s most closely watched succession race and is taking the helm of a bank in a far different position than when Gorman ascended in the wake of the financial crisis.
“James is the architect of transforming the firm,” Pick said in his first interview after the selection was announced. “He had a singular vision for the place, and over 15 years took us from near bankruptcy to a winning place.”
Pick views his job as maintaining the firm’s direction and anticipates no change in strategy.
Gorman cited Pick’s track record of accomplishing difficult turnaround tasks, and his experience in risk management, client relations and technology oversight for what made him the board’s unanimous choice.
Read More: Barely Hired at Morgan Stanley, Trading Savior Nears CEO’s Perch
“He’ll tell you what he thinks, he’s passionate, and he has a tremendous following within this firm,” Gorman said in the interview. “He’s a world class executive, and he understands our culture.”
In a rare setup, the firm said the two men who missed out on the top job will stay on. Co-President Andy Saperstein will gain oversight of the firm’s asset management business in addition to his role leading wealth management, and Dan Simkowitz will replace Pick as co-president leading the investment banking and trading division.
“This doesn’t happen on Wall Street, people don’t stay. Every bloody pundit said this wouldn’t happen, but we pulled it off,” Gorman said. “It’s a testament to their respect for Ted in this role.”