Morgan Stanley cuts name in half

NEW YORK: The corporate communications division at securities group Morgan Stanley Dean Witter will handle the firm's planned name change to Morgan Stanley in-house.

NEW YORK: The corporate communications division at securities group Morgan Stanley Dean Witter will handle the firm's planned name change to Morgan Stanley in-house.

NEW YORK: The corporate communications division at securities group Morgan Stanley Dean Witter will handle the firm's planned name change to Morgan Stanley in-house.

Judy Hitchen, vice president of corporate communications, said her department has been working on the name change for the past 12 months and that the entire global communications staff of 35 will be involved with the rollout campaign.

'It was a marketing decision,' said Hitchen. 'It was perceived that the brand name was too long and didn't capture the strength of the firm. It had little overseas relevance and could be more powerfully defined.'

Executives said the name change had been debated since the firm became Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in May 1997, when Dean Witter bought out Morgan Stanley for dollars 10.4 billion. The firm was known as Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Co. for a year after the merger, but executives decided the moniker was too cumbersome and shortened it to Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in March 1998.

In 2000, employees were polled about further shortening the four-word, nine-syllable name to two words and four syllables. Despite executive concerns that shortening the name might have negative implications, especially internally, for employees of the former Dean Witter brand, employees reacted favorably to the Morgan Stanley name.

Hitchen said her office is currently investigating PR strategies for the internal and external rebranding effort, but added that major decisions will be made at the March board meeting in which Robert Scott, chief financial officer, will succeed John Mack as CEO.

The rollout of the re-branded Morgan Stanley is expected to kick off at the beginning of April.



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