Morgan Stanley's Nides might join State Department

Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:37pm EDT

* Would be deputy secretary for management and resources

* Nides has political background; is chair of SIFMA

By Steve Eder

NEW YORK, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley (MS.N) Executive Thomas Nides, who has a long history in politics, is in discussions to join the U.S. Department of State, a person familiar with the matter said.

Nides, who is Morgan Stanley's chief administrative officer and chief operating officer, is the leading candidate to replace Jack Lew, who is departing as deputy secretary for management and resources, the source said.

The source declined to be identified because the talks have not been made public. Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley referred questions on pending appointments to the White House.

Nides would be the latest Wall Street executive to join Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's team, following the hiring of Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) executive Robert Hormats last year.

Morgan Stanley, which received a $10 billion taxpayer bailout during the financial crisis, has emerged as one of the government's go-to banks in the aftermath of the meltdown. The firm advised the U.S. Treasury on Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB) and is handling the sale of the government's stake in Citigroup Inc (C.N).

Morgan Stanley repaid taxpayers last year.

Nides has a political resume that includes managing campaigns for Sen. Joe Lieberman. He is the chairman of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, an organization that lobbies on behalf of financial firms.

His financial career includes stops at Credit Suisse First Boston and Fannie Mae. Early in his career he was a chief of staff to the U.S. Trade Representative.

He joined Morgan Stanley's management committee in 2005. (Reporting by Steve Eder in New York and Andrew Quinn in Washington; editing by Andre Grenon)