Once a Force on Wall Street, Zoe Cruz Moves to the Cryptocurrency World


A decade after the financial crisis, The Wall Street Journal has checked in on dozens of the bankers, government officials, chief executives, hedge-fund managers and others who left a mark on that period to find out what they are doing now. Today, we spotlight former

Morgan Stanley

executive

Zoe Cruz

and former Merrill Lynch banker Matthew Greenburgh.

Zoe Cruz, a currency trader whose rise through the ranks at Morgan Stanley made her one of the most powerful women on Wall Street, lost her job after the firm’s subprime mortgage bets soured.

Now she’s attempting a comeback in the virtual currency world.

Ms. Cruz late last year joined the board of San Francisco startup Ripple. The company offers a virtual currency known as XRP, which aims to challenge bitcoin and other crypto assets. Ripple launched its currency in 2012 as part of a plan to use the concepts behind bitcoin to build a cross-border, interbank payments and settlement network.

As the one-time lieutenant of former Morgan Stanley Chief Executive

John Mack,

she was known as “Cruz Missile” for her hard-charging approach to management. Ms. Cruz was among the most senior women on Wall Street before the financial crisis. She had worked at Morgan Stanley for 25 years, rising through the firm’s bond and foreign-exchange trading business to become co-president. Many considered her a possible successor to Mr. Mack as CEO.

But when trading losses tied to bets on subprime mortgages materialized, it was her one-time champion who lost confidence in Ms. Cruz. Mr. Mack ousted her in November 2007 with approval from the board.

Ms. Cruz, 63 years old, attempted a Wall Street comeback in 2009 with hedge-fund firm Voras Capital, which bet on macroeconomic trends across asset classes, including currencies and commodities. The fund was named after an area near the Greek town in which she was born, The Wall Street Journal reported. But it shut down in 2012 after posting disappointing returns.

More recently she has pulled away from her past life on Wall Street, taking board seats at Ripple and with the investing and insurance firm

Old Mutual

PLC. Ms. Cruz also worked briefly as a senior adviser to regulatory consulting firm Promontory Financial Group LLC.

Another major focus is a family office—EOZ Global—that invests in startups. EOZ holdings are in a number of industries including biotech and manufacturing, a spokeswoman for Ms. Cruz said.

Write to Sarah Krouse at sarah.krouse@wsj.com



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