Morgan Stanley Exec May Seek Government Post: Street Whispers

Tickers in this article: MS

NEW YORK (TheStreet) --Paul Taubman, outgoing co-president of institutional securities at Morgan Stanley(MS) , may seek a government position if President Obama wins a second term in office following Tuesday's elections, according to a person close to the executive.

Morgan Stanley announced on Monday that Taubman, a 51 year-old investment banker who has spent his entire 30-year career at the company and rose to become one of its top-ranking executives, would "retire" at the end of the year. He owns nearly 1.6 million Morgan Stanley shares worth some $28 million, making him the second-largest shareholder among company executives after CEO James Gorman, according to Morgan Stanley's latest proxy statement.

Taubman has been a longtime supporter of Obama, dating back to the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, when he was responsible for bringing the candidate to meet with several of the firm's top executives. The person close to Taubman says he would be a suitable candidate for several government positions, including Deputy Treasury Secretary or Director of the National Economic Council.

Taubman's departure from Morgan Stanley allows Colm Kelleher, the other co-head of institutional securities, to take sole responsibility for the business. The rivalry between the two men was well-known, and was the subject of stories in both The New York Times and Bloomberg News in 2011. Taubman lost out to Kelleher, according to the person close to Taubman, because Kelleher had greater breadth of experience, having worked as CFO and in markets and investment banking roles. Taubman has only worked as an investment banker.

In an interview with TheStreet last year, reflecting on the career of friend and former colleague Tom Nides, now Deputy Secretary of State, Taubman said, "Tom is helping to show everyone that you can move even in the current climate from business into government and not have the scarlet letter on you." He added that "the fact that Nides was so warmly embraced in D.C. notwithstanding the fact that he spent a long time on Wall Street gives hope to a lot of people that ultimately talented people can come back and serve their country."

In the same interview, Taubman reflected upon the benefits of a career that combines both government and business experience.

"Increasingly, large complex organizations require senior executives to be able to navigate both worlds because they're so interdependent," he said.

A call to Taubman was not returned, and a Morgan Stanley spokeswoman did not respond to questions.

-- Written by Dan Freed in New York.