updated 9/9/2005 5:27:41 PM ET 2005-09-09T21:27:41

Morgan Stanley Inc. on Friday said directors Charles F. Knight and John E. Jacob have stepped down from the board, marking the latest change at the investment bank since John Mack took the helm.

Earlier this week, Michael Miles resigned as a director after serving more than a decade on the board.

On Aug. 17, the board elected three new directors — Roy J. Bostock, Charles H. Noski and O. Griffith Sexton. With the resignations, the board will now consist of 11 directors — nine independent, meaning they don't also have jobs with the company.

Jacob, in a letter to Mack, said "the recent election of the three outstanding new directors reflects the direction Morgan Stanley must go to be competitive and successful in the future."

Knight echoed the sentiment, stating, "I have great confidence in your ability as CEO and great optimism for the future. It is my desire to provide you and the board with flexibility in shaping the board's composition."

Mack returned to the storied Wall Street firm in July as chairman and chief executive, adding some stability to a company racked by resignations and disappointing earnings. Five of the 14 members of Morgan Stanley's executive committee — including veteran mergers-and-acquisitions star Joseph Perella — left in late March and early April, many expressing frustration with perceived favoritism from former CEO Phil Purcell.

Since returning to the firm, Mack has made a number of top-level changes to bolster confidence in the firm. Among them was the resignation of co-President Stephen S. Crawford, and the appointment of fellow co-President Zoe Cruz as acting president.

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