Just when you thought that only EphBabes like Ana Sani ’08 and Victoria Fang ’98 get their pictures in the New York Times, today we have EphHunk Bob Scott ’68.

[Sani and Fang look a lot better. — ed. Perhaps not to our female readers. No heteronormativity on EphBlog, please! — ed.]

The article notes that:

Three of the retired Morgan Stanley executives campaigning for the ouster of Philip J. Purcell met secretly with Morgan Stanley board members late last week and proposed splitting the company in two, according to people briefed on the meeting.

The talks were a major concession by Morgan Stanley’s board, which has previously spurned repeated requests by dissident executives to meet. The executives proposed that Morgan Stanley divide into two companies – one catering to institutions like pension and mutual funds and the other to individual investors. That would spell the end of Mr. Purcell’s vision of Morgan Stanley as a diversified financial services firm.

Previous EphBlog coverage on this story is here, here, here and here.

How is the attempt to force out Purcell going? Well, the betting seems to give Scott an almost 1 in 5 chance of success, at least before June 30th. I am rooting for Scott but find in these odds implausibly good, unless the market knows about some misdeeds by Purcell that aren’t public . . . yet. (Hat tip: BankStocks.)

The Wall Street Journal noted that

The alumni appeared self-serving, many investors say, by putting forward one of their own, former Morgan President Robert Scott, as their choice to succeed Mr. Purcell.

Mr. Purcell pushed Mr. Scott out in 2003. A spokesman for the alumni says it chose Mr. Scott because he is “a culture-carrier who would be capable of attracting back some of the talented professionals” who have left.

I think that the “dissidents” — note the rhetoric here; I bet that Purcell would prefer if they were referred to as “insurgents” — had little choice but to suggest a specific person to replace Purcell. They need to have a “plan” of some sort. Since the article does not quote anyone, even anonymously, on this point, it is hard to tell who Scott and his fellow grumpy old men appear self-serving to.

Yet, to the extent that this is a problem, Scott et al. could volunteer to work without pay for 2 years once Purcell was out. It seems clear that they hate Purcell enough that they would take this deal, although, given his generosity to the College, Williams would certainly be better off if Scott replaced Purcell but kept Purcell’s $20+ million salary.

For the board, the meeting represents a sharp concession. Ten days ago it wrote a cease-and-desist letter to the executives. It is not clear who initiated the talks, but people briefed on the discussions said that the directors met with the dissidents not knowing the details of their proposal. Since the meeting, there have been a few follow-up telephone conversations, but so far there is little evidence that the board is considering the proposal.

The talks with the employees, together with the secret meeting, cast additional doubt on Mr. Purcell’s position and demonstrated a renewed feistiness on the part of directors. Still, one independent director interviewed yesterday said the board stood behind Mr. Purcell. “As far as I know,” the director said, “the board is unified in support of Phil.”

The phrase “as far as I know” is one that should not give great comfort to Phil Purcell.

UPDATE: Thanks to some of the comments below, I have added the word “EphHunk” to the above. EphBlog, as always, strives to be an inclusive community. Cynics might argue that we at EphBlog are too quick to throw around terms like EphBabe and EphHunk. Surely, not all women at Williams, past and present, are babes. Surely, in some objective sense, Scott, for all his many virtues, is not a hunk.

We, respectively, disagree. All Ephs are purple. All Ephs are beautiful. If you disagree, read elsewhere.

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