After 20 years, Mary Meeker is leaving Morgan Stanley to join the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as a partner.
Meeker became known as “Queen of the Net” during the Internet mania of the late 1990s. Her Net Queen title was first intended to lionize her as a visionary. The phrase then came to symbolize something else entirely: The excesses of the dotcom bubble—and possibly the conflicts of interest inherent at investment banks during the same period. Meeker survived the waves of allegations that eventually forced analysts Jack Grubmanand Henry Blodget out of the securities industry. In fact, in a fascinating and redemptive third act, the term “Queen of the Net” largely returned to its original usage — which is to say un-ironical.
Morgan Stanley sent a somewhat long-winded 500 plus word internal memo congratulating her on her career at the bank and wishing her luck in her new role at Kleiner Perkins. (DealBook has included the complete text of the memo, which can be found in the link in the first paragraph.)
Not surprisingly, no reference was made in the e-mail to Meeker's investigation by Eliot Spitzer. Allegations of biased research of two companies in particular—Amazon and Ebay—had been made against Meeker by investors in a lawsuit. The claims were based on the assertion that bias in analyst research was driven by Morgan Stanley's desire to curry favor with companies to get investment banking business. A judge later dismissed a lawsuit against Morgan Stanley, calling it an entangled mass of verbiage'' that was filled with ''market gossip.'' Meeker was never cited for any wrongdoing in connection with her role as an analyst at Morgan Stanley.
It is perhaps appropriate that she is joining the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers—where enthusiasm for technology, and technology companies, can't be misconstrued as something more nefarious. In the VC world, one imagines, being viewed as a cheerleader for a company that you are helping to fund would likely be viewed as not merely ethical and rational, but highly advantageous.
(In fact, it might make you wonder why she didn't make the jump long ago.)
Also, the venture capital game pays pretty well.
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