A brief memo was circulated recently at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Bank Ltd. in London saying that Sir Anthony, a senior adviser there since 1993, had decided to retire at the end of this month. The memo cited Sir Anthony's recent 70th birthday as the reason. But the bank has no mandatory retirement age, and a person with knowledge of the matter says the birthday was merely a pretext. The person adds that the headline-generating case involving Sotheby's Holdings Inc. and Christie's gave the investment bank no choice but to push for Sir Anthony's departure.
Spokesmen for Morgan Stanley in London and New York declined to comment. Through his London-based lawyers, Sir Anthony denied any wrongdoing in the price-fixing scandal and said his decision to leave Morgan Stanley is on account of his age and has nothing to do whatsoever with the Christie's-Sotheby's litigation. He declined to be interviewed.