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Morgan Stanley’s Global Head of Diversity Sues for Race Discrimination

Marilyn Booker worked at Morgan Stanley for 26 years, including 16 years as the bank’s Global Head of Diversity. Booker, a Black female, is now suing Morgan Stanley and her former boss, Barry Krouk, the Chief Administrative Officer for the Wealth Management Division, for race discrimination and retaliation. Booker believes she was fired because of her efforts to convince senior executives in the Wealth Management Division to embrace her plan to restructure a training program for Black financial advisers which she felt would help more recruits succeed.

According to Booker, in 2013 she proposed creating a mutual fund with a minimum buy-in of $5,000 that could be marketed in Black communities with the help of the Black TV host Steve Harvey, but she was told by the bank’s Chief Marketing Officer that Harvey was not “consistent with our brand or our audience.” The fund was eventually created, without Booker’s involvement, and it was framed as a way to attract millennials. Booker alleges that she next tried to establish support for Black financial advisers. Booker felt Black advisers needed extra support during the bank’s three year training program, due to the isolation they routinely suffered as new recruits, often fresh from college. Booker claims that Krouk was initially enthusiastic about her idea, which she called Project Genesis, but it soon became difficult for her to obtain an audience with Krouk, or with the other executives to be involved in the project, the Division’s Chief Operating Officer and Head of Diversity. Booker was then terminated.

Mary Claire Delaney, a spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley, said the bank strongly rejected the allegations: “We are steadfast in our commitment to improve the diversity of our employees and have made steady progress — while recognizing that we have further progress to make. We will continue to advance our high-priority efforts to achieve a more diverse and inclusive firm.”