At JPMorgan, Chief Says He’ll Stay for a While

Posted January 29, 2018 7:54 p.m. EST

James Dimon, the chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, already has outlasted all of his Wall Street peers. On Monday, the bank said he planned to stay in the job for five more years.

Since taking JPMorgan’s helm more than 12 years ago, Dimon has survived a financial crisis, a monumental trading blowup and throat cancer. These days, he is the closest thing there is to Wall Street royalty.

But JPMorgan is preparing for life without Dimon, who will turn 62 in March. In an announcement that seemed designed in part to address questions about the bank’s succession planning, JPMorgan said two of his deputies, Daniel Pinto and Gordon Smith, would be promoted to the joint roles of presidents and chief operating officers.

Pinto, 55, has led JPMorgan’s investment bank for five years. Smith, 59, runs its consumer banking operations. Both men will remain responsible for those areas in addition to their new roles.

Both Pinto and Smith are old enough that it is unclear whether they will be serious contenders to eventually replace Dimon, especially if he sticks around for five years. But both men could be prepared to step in if unforeseen events cause Dimon to leave.

Several younger executives beneath them could be in the running to lead the bank someday. Monday’s announcement identified Mary Erdoes, 50, who runs the bank’s asset and wealth management arm; Doug Petno, 52, who runs the commercial banking division; and Marianne Lake, 48, the bank’s finance chief, as among the up-and-comers.

A handful of earlier would-be successors left JPMorgan after it was clear Dimon wouldn’t be stepping aside in time for them to take over — sparking concerns among some industry observers that the bank wasn’t doing a good job of grooming talent to eventually replace him.

Among those departed executives were Bill Winters, who now runs the British bank Standard Chartered, and James E. Staley, who is the chief executive of Barclays. JPMorgan’s previous chief operating officer, Matt Zames, resigned in June.

“The board and Dimon both believe that under all timing scenarios, whether today or in the future, the company has several highly capable successors in place,” the bank said in Monday’s announcement.

Dimon became chief executive of JPMorgan after his banking career seemed to be derailed. He worked with Sanford I. Weill, helping him build the financial conglomerate that would become Citigroup, but their relationship ended in acrimony. Dimon then resurfaced at Chicago’s Bank One, where he orchestrated a rapid turnaround. JPMorgan acquired Bank One in 2004, a deal designed in part to bring Dimon into the JPMorgan family. He became chief executive at the end of 2005.

Dimon guided JPMorgan through the financial crisis. While the bank took government bailout money, it also snapped up its rivals Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual.

Dimon’s golden reputation was tarnished in 2012 when some of the bank’s London traders lost billions of dollars. He famously dismissed media accounts of the losses as a “tempest in a teapot” — a remark he later said he regretted.