Ellyn McColgan is leaving her post as head of Morgan Stanley's global wealth management unit after less than a year on the job. The news comes in the wake of the announcement of Morgan Stanley's planned joint venture with Smith Barney.

In an internal memo, Morgan CEO John Mack and Co-President James Gorman told employees that McColgan intended to "pursue other opportunities" and would leave the firm at the end of the month. They praised McColgan for her "strong leadership... during one of the most tumultuous periods our industry has ever seen."

"Now, with the planning for the new Morgan Stanley Smith Barney joint venture underway, Ellyn has decided to explore other leadership opportunities in the industry, and we respect this decision," the memo said.

During a conference call with reporters on Jan. 13, Gorman refused to specify what McColgan's role would be in the new entity. He only confirmed that he would be the chairman of the new company and Charlie Johnston, president of Citi's global wealth business, would be his second in command.

McColgan started work at Morgan Stanley in April last year, after being given the job in December 2007. She took over from Gorman, who was promoted to co-president. At the time, McColgan said that the opportunity to work with Gorman, who she served with on the board of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, was one of the main attractions of the role at Morgan Stanley. "It seems we wound up on the same side of most issues," she said.

Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, McColgan spent 17 years at mutual-fund giant Fidelity. She left in August 2007 after losing ground as a potential successor to long-time chief executive Ned Johnson.



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