NEW YORK—Tom Nides, who took over from Chris Komisarjevsky as chief executive of Burson-Marsteller late last year, has resigned from the public relations giant to become chief administrative officer at Morgan Stanley, where he will be reunited with former colleague John Mack, who was named CEO of the troubled investment bank last month.
Before joining Burson, Nides was chief administrative officer of Credit Suisse First Boston during Mack’s tensure as CEO. He also worked at Morgan Stanley from 1996 to 1999, when Mack was that firm’s president. Mack left CSFB in June 2004, and Nides left later that summer to join Burson.
Nides was considered a surprise choice to replace Komisarjevsky at Burson, having no experience in the public relations agency sector. But many of his previous roles had included responsibility for corporate communications—at CSFB, he managed 2,000 people and oversaw corporate communications, government relations, human resources and other administrative functions—and he had generally made a favorable impression on colleagues at the global PR firm during his brief tenure.
“He was clearly making a difference,” says Howard Paster, executive vice president of parent WPP Group responsible for the holding company’s PR operations. “He was enormously well-liked within the business and he had already made a number of structural changes that made the firm stronger.”
Nides previously served as an executive at Fannie Mae and in several Democratic administrations in Washington. He was executive assistant to Speaker of the House Tom Foley for four years and then chief of staff to the U.S. trade representative during the Clinton Administration.
“Tom has extensive experience in both the public and private sector,” said a Morgan Stanley spokesman. ”He is a dynamic executive with a superb track record of leadership.”
In a statement, Burson said that Nides will work with Paster on the search for a successor, “in order to maintain continuity.” The two are planning a conference call with Burson’s executive committee this weekend to discuss the options available to them, and Paster says the search will include both internal and external candidates.
He stressed that Burson has a strong leadership team in place below the CEO level and that Harold Burson, the firm’s chairman, continues to play an active role in the firm.