Morgan Stanley ousts Zoe Cruz

From Times Wire Services

Morgan Stanley said that Zoe Cruz, one of the most powerful women on Wall Street, was ousted as co-president Thursday in the wake of billions of dollars of mortgage-related losses.

Cruz, a 25-year veteran of the firm who was seen as a front-runner to succeed Chief Executive John Mack, joins a list of Wall Street names who have been fired since the summer, including the CEOs of Merrill Lynch & Co. and Citigroup Inc., because of sub-prime-linked losses totaling about $80 billion, including $3.7 billion at Morgan Stanley.

"The captains are going down with the ship; whether they are rising stars or not doesn't matter," said analyst David Easthope at consulting firm Celent. "The losses are so large and embarrassing to the organization that they are getting rid of people to satisfy the public perception that they are fixing things."

In addition to Cruz -- who was nicknamed "Cruz Missile" for her hard-charging demeanor -- Mack also got rid of the heads of the departments that caused the massive write-down.

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