February 2, 1955
|Alma mater||Harvard Business School
|Known for||Former banking executive at Morgan Stanley|
Cruz was born Zoe Papadimitriou in Greece. At the age of 14, Zoe and her parents moved to Massachusetts, United States. She graduated from Radcliffe College  at Harvard University cum laude with a B.A. in Romance Languages & Literatures in 1977 and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1982.
In 1982, after graduating from business school and having a male child, Cruz was recruited by Morgan Stanley and had a 25-year tenure at the firm. She became a Vice President in 1986, a Principal in 1988 and a Managing Director in 1990. From 2000 to 2005, she held the position of global Head of Fixed Income, Commodities and Foreign Exchange. She was appointed Co-President on February 9, 2006.
Cruz was a longtime supporter of former CEO Phil Purcell. She became an integral part of the leadership controversy at Morgan Stanley on March 29, 2005, when Purcell replaced then President Stephan Newhouse. Zoe Cruz and Stephen S. Crawford were named Co-Presidents. This controversial move led to a full-page advertisement in the Wall Street Journal on March 31, 2005. The advertisement featured opposition to the company leadership by a group of dissidents known as the “Group of Eight”. Several distinguished executives later left the firm amid speculation that they disagreed with the new management structure.
Phil Purcell announced his retirement on June 13, 2005, and John J. Mack was named successor. On July 11, 2005, Stephen S. Crawford resigned his position of Co-President “to pursue other interests”. Cruz was subsequently appointed acting president. Her lengthy position as acting president led to much speculation about the future direction of the company. This appointment may silence rumors that the position was left open as a potential merger negotiation item. In 2006, she was on the list of Forbes' 100 Most Powerful Women of the World and ranked the #10 spot.
On November 29, 2007, Morgan Stanley announced that Zoe Cruz was resigning as co-president of the firm and that she would retire immediately. She was replaced by co-presidents Walid Chammah and James Gorman.
On October 9, 2009, the New York Times reported that Zoe Cruz was possibly starting her own hedge fund named Vorás Capital Management, which is expected to focus on distressed assets and macroeconomic bets on currencies and securities She started her hedge fund that year, but liquidated the fund in May 2012 after having a difficult time raising above the initial $200 million.
Cruz was named as the highest paid woman in Fortune.com's countdown with total compensation of $30 million in 2006. She was also ranked as the 16th most powerful woman in the world in 2007.
- Was Purcell right about Morgan Stanley after all?
- the Group of Eight
- Only the men Survive
- The New York Times: Morgan Stanley Ousts Cruz; Is More Pain Ahead? (November 30, 2007)
- A Hedge Fund Comeback for Zoe Cruz? (October 9, 2009)
- Zoe Cruz, former Morgan Stanley banker launches her own hedge fund