Morgan Stanley CEO: ‘I was wrong’ to order return to office by Labor Day amid pandemic or face pay cut

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Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman is claiming he “was wrong” to order staffers back into the company’s New York City offices in July now that the new omicron variant has forced them to return to remote work from home.

“I was wrong on this,” said Gorman, according to “I thought we would have been out of [the pandemic] past Labor Day and we’re not.”

The CEO had ordered staff to return to their NYC offices by Labor Day or get hit with a pay cut.

“Everybody’s still finding their way,” Gorman added.

Previously, he said that staff members would need to come back to the office by the deadline in order to retain their “New York City salary” because if they were permitted to dine indoors at restaurants in the city, they could “come into the office.”

“If you can go into a restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office. We want you in the office,” said the CEO in July, according to

“If you want to get paid New York rates, you work in New York. None of this ‘I’m in Colorado and work in New York and am getting paid like I’m sitting in New York City.’ Sorry, that’ doesn’t work,” Gorman said then.

Added Chris O’Dea, a managing director at the company, last month: “If you’re [ages] 21 to 35, you are nuts not to be in the office all the time.”

The CEO said that the reason why he wants workers to be in the office building is that Morgan Stanley conducts all of its training there and that is where “successful careers” are built.

“That’s where we teach, that’s where our interns learn, that’s where you build all the soft cues that go with building a successful career that aren’t just about Zoom presentations,” Gorman said over the summer, according to

Now, however, the Morgan Stanley boss believes that more COVID-19 variants are coming that researchers will “eventually run out of letters of the alphabet.”

“Who knows, we’ll have pi, we’ll have theta and epsilon, and we’ll eventually run out of letters of the alphabet. It’s continuing to be an issue,” he added, noting that 65 percent of vaccinated workers have returned to their NYC office and 95 percent of Morgan Stanley staffers have had at least one dose.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is said to be preparing for a new explosion of omicron variant cases despite the researcher who discovered it in South Africa earlier this fall saying it is not nearly as potent as previous variants or the original strain.

“Everything points to a large wave. A large wave is coming,” a senior administration official said, reported.

But Dr. Angelique Coetzee, the South African doctor who first identified the new COVID-19 variant, said in late November that omicron symptoms are unusual but “extremely mild.”

“Their symptoms were so different and so mild from those I had treated before,” she said, adding that “currently there’s no reason for panicking as we don’t see severely ill patients.”

“The most predominant clinical complaint is severe fatigue for one or two days, with then the headache and the body aches and pain. Some of them will have what they call a scratchy throat and some will have a cough — a dry cough, but it’s not a constant cough, it comes and goes. And that’s more or less the big symptoms that we have seen,” Coetzee said.

Jon Dougherty


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