Morgan Stanley Commodity Co-Head Sherk Exits; King Expands Role

  • Co-head Nancy King taking sole control of unit immediately
  • Commodities chief operating officer Mitchell also said to exit

Morgan Stanley commodities co-chief Peter Sherk plans to exit the firm, leaving Nancy King sole head of the unit.

Fixed-income trading head Sam Kellie-Smith announced King’s expanded role in a memo to staff with immediate effect after Sherk informed the bank of his decision. Commodities chief operating officer Martin Mitchell also left the company, according to a person briefed on the matter. Sherk and Mitchell couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Reuters reported their departures earlier Thursday.

Morgan Stanley is consolidating fixed-income personnel after shrinking commodities operations and the broader bond-trading division. The firm, under regulatory pressure, has sold off businesses that traded and stored physical oil. And in an effort to boost returns, executives decided last year to cut about a quarter of the company’s fixed-income staff, appointing Kellie-Smith to run the division in January.

King started at Morgan Stanley in 1986 as an oil and natural gas trader before taking over leadership roles. She served as head of U.S. emissions and U.S. coal trading, chief risk officer for global commodities and head of the oil liquid flow business. She became global co-head alongside Sherk last year.

‘Key Appointment’

“Nancy will join the fixed-income operating committee, a key appointment as we look to further the collaboration between our global commodities business and the rest of sales and trading,” Kellie-Smith wrote in the memo. As part of that effort, about 150 traders and support staff from the commodities-trading unit will move to the bank’s Manhattan headquarters this summer from Purchase, New York, a person familiar with the matter said last month.

Sherk helped build out Morgan Stanley’s North American power and gas practice after joining the bank as a natural gas trader in 1999, according to the memo. Throughout his tenure, he served as head of natural gas trading and head of North America power and gas trading and origination.

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