A Morgan Stanley (MS) party inside the firm’s offices last Wednesday afternoon for departing chairman John Mack has sparked a lot of chuckles among rank-and-file employees who witnessed top executives -- including chief executive James Gorman -- ribbing their soon-to-be-former boss over his fetish for women’s shoes and a portrait that captured one of his least favorite physical characteristics, his chubby hands.
But it was an after-party for Mack that now has both current and former Morgan Stanley executives fuming.
That party, according to people who were invited, took place at the swanky Temple of Dendur in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. The Temple features ancient Egyptian art and artifacts, where people with big bucks can sip wine and munch on expensive hors d’oeuvres as if they were hanging with Cleopatra.
Mack is set to retire from the firm at the end of the year, ending a 40-year career on Wall Street. While all company employees were invited to witness the afternoon celebration, only a select number of former executives and friends of Mack were invited to the Temple bash. Among those invited: former senior executive Zoe Cruz, who Mack ousted from the firm following a massive trading loss just before the 2008 financial collapse.
But what has some Morgan executives, both past and present, angered is the cost for the Temple bash and that Morgan appears to have picked up the tab, according to people close to the firm. To be sure, the price of renting a room at the Temple isn’t cheap. Corporations that become “patrons” of the Met pay an up-front fee of $60,000, which allows them to rent the Temple once a year and then pay an additional $38,000 to hold a two-hour reception.
“Take a look at the stock price and tell me why they should be spending company money on this crap,” one former senior executive told FOX Business.
Morgan Stanley has had other events at the Temple, including a the firm’s 75th anniversary party last year. But since that event, Morgan Stanley’s shares have fallen more than 40%, to around $15.
As the company’s stock has gotten hammered, Gorman has been alerting some people in the firm they may not receive bonuses this year, and those who do have been alerted they could be substantially smaller than previous years.
A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter but would not deny that Gorman dipped into company funds to pay for the Mack bash.
Charles Gasparino joined FOX Business Network (FBN) in February 2010 as Senior Correspondent.