Morgan Stanley M&A Chief McDonald Dies

LONDON (Reuters) – Gavin MacDonald, the head of mergers and acquisitions at Morgan Stanley, has died. He was 47.

MacDonald died on Friday evening, after suffering a heart attack at Morgan Stanley’s offices in Canary Wharf, London, earlier last week, Morgan Stanley spokesman Michael Wang said.

A founding member of Morgan Stanley’s European M&A team, MacDonald had worked on a string of multi-billion dollar deals, and became global head of M&A in 2007 — the first London-based banker to hold that role for the Wall Street firm.

“Gavin was an extremely decent, universally liked, funny, selfless and deeply valued man. He was also a close and generous friend to many of us,” Morgan Stanley Chief Executive John Mack said in a company-wide message. “He will be greatly missed.”

MacDonald spent his whole career at Morgan Stanley, joining the firm as a financial analyst in 1983 with a first-class degree in law from Cambridge University. He rose to managing director in 1997, and vice chairman in 2004.

Among his biggest deals, MacDonald advised Imperial Tobacco on its $19 billion acquisition of Altadis, the Swedish government on the sale of Absolut vodka maker Vin & Sprit, and Reuters on its merger with Thomson.

A keen rugby fan, MacDonald played for Cambridge while at the university. Last year he hired a 10-seat private jet so he and clients could avoid traffic problems en route to the Rugby World Cup final in Paris, according to the Press Association.

In the year to December 4, Morgan Stanley advised on $556 billion of announced mergers worldwide, making it the world’s no. 5 merger adviser, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Its market share slipped to 19.4 percent this year, from 28.9 percent a year ago, as concerns about the standalone investment banking model forced it and peer Goldman Sachs to convert to Federal Reserve-regulated bank holding companies.