Top Black Executive Leaves Morgan Stanley For Lazard

One of the who’s who among black Wall Street executives, William M. Lewis Jr. bids farewell to a 24-year career at financial services firm Morgan Stanley and says hello to global investment firm Lazard. Lewis will serve as co-chairman of investment banking at Lazard. The 48-year-old top Wall Street executive (see “B.E. Wall Street All-Stars,” October 2002) says Lazard presented him with “a good opportunity and a platform” to do what he loves and be a “trusted adviser to a number of decision makers [clients] at Lazard.”

Lewis made his mark as the first black partner at Morgan Stanley, a feat he achieved in seven years — the fastest ever at a financial services firm. The native of Richmond, Virginia, and Harvard B.A. and M.B.A. graduate, spent his entire career at Morgan Stanley. He was promoted to managing director in 1989 and went on to lead the firm’s mergers and acquisitions division before heading its worldwide corporate finance department. His last post at Morgan Stanley was head of global banking where he oversaw international banking operations for institutional clients, which included Sara Lee Corp., Whirlpool Corp., and Reuters.

Vernon E. Jordan Jr., senior managing director at Lazard, says Lewis is terrific for the company and calls him a banker with “breadth and depth.” Says Jordan, “He will greatly enhance Lazard with his presence and participation.”