Mack is back: former Morgan Stanley chief signs up to KKR

JOHN Mack, the former chief executive of Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, has joined an exclusive club of current and former business leaders by signing up as a senior advisor to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

The Wall Street veteran, dubbed Mack the Knife for his zealous approach to cost-cutting, will join the private equity house’s senior advisory team. He will serve alongside Qantas Airways chairman Leigh Clifford, former Honeywell International chief executive David Cote and former HSBC chairman Sir John Bond.

Henry Kravis, co-chief executive of KKR, said Mack is a “great leader who... will help make us smarter investors and strengthen our firm.”

Mack, 67, stepped down as chairman of Morgan Stanley at the end of 2011. His career at the bank goes back to 1972, however, when the son of Lebanese immigrants joined as a bond salesman before working his way through the ranks to become president and chief operating officer of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in 1997. He was pushed out in 2001 after a dispute with Morgan Stanley’s then-chief executive Philip Purcell but returned to take the top job in 2005 when Purcell quit.

The end of his time as chief executive, in 2010, marked the end of a rollercoaster era of both record profits and losses. The bank has since continued the process of scaling back riskier activities such as proprietary trading and relied more on wealth management.