Tom Matthews, president of Smith Barney’s global private client group, is retiring, firm officials announced today. Matthews, who had been with the firm for nearly three decades, started as a financial consultant and eventually served as second-in-command of the group.
Charles Johnston, currently director of the retail branch system at the firm, will replace him.
Matthews held calls with the salesforce earlier today after deciding to leave the firm. He had recently switched bosses—Sallie Krawcheck was moved to Citigroup CFO, and Todd Thomson, who had been in that position, took her job.
Matthews was promoted from national director of sales to president in 2002, when the firm was dealing with hits to its reputation as a result of the research scandals. In the past, advisors had praised him for his connection to the field. “I’ve gotten some notes from him on the months I’ve had record growth,” says one rep at Smith Barney. “He’s very well respected.”
He will continue to advise on the firm’s chairman executive forum and business leadership program, two professional development organizations within the firm. “He’s been a great student of leadership,” says his heir-apparent, Johnston. “We’re going to ask him to get involved in a lot of leadership programs.”
Among those will be a new national branch manager’s training program, which begins in January. Managers will go to Connecticut for a five-day program on branch leadership.
Johnston started as an advisor in the industry in 1978 and has been with Smith Barney for 21 years, serving in various roles at the divisional and regional level. He doesn’t expect big changes yet under his leadership and says current plans are focused on wealth management for clients. For him, one of the toughest jobs will be remaining connected to the field.
“Frankly the further I’ve moved up, the more I have to work to stay connected,” he says, adding that he plans on continuing to visit branches and hold town-hall meetings with reps.