Morgan Stanley To Drop Dean Witter

Monday, January 29th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — Dean Witter's name lasted on Wall Street long after he died, but it will soon be relegated to the history books.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. plans to drop Dean Witter from its name for marketing purposes in March, the company announced Monday.

The two powerhouse brokerages merged four years ago, and a Morgan Stanley spokeswoman said it was always understood that the combined firm's name would be shortened.

Witter founded his securities firm in San Francisco in 1924. It managed to post yearly profits during the Depression, and went public in 1972, three years after Dean Witter died.

In 1978, Dean Witter & Co. joined with Reynolds & Co. in the largest merger at the time in the U.S. securities industry. The combined company became the fifth-largest broker in the U.S., and was named Dean Witter Reynolds.

That company was sold in 1981 to Sears, Roebuck & Co., which launched the Discover credit card as a division of Dean Witter.

Dean Witter, Discover & Co. was formed in 1993 when Sears spun off the financial services operations. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter became the country's second largest brokerage after the two companies merged in 1997.

Morgan Stanley spokeswoman Judy Hitchen declined to comment on how the company reached its decision to drop the Dean Witter part of its name. The change, which had been under review for several months, must still be approved by Morgan Stanley's board.

The change was announced five days after John Mack, who helped shepherd the merger of Morgan Stanley and Dean Witter, announced his retirement as president and chief operating officer.