Did JPMorgan Just Lose Jamie Dimon’s Successor as CEO?

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Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) has been considered over the modern era by many Wall Streeters as the best CEO in all of banking. This view has changed in some years with the London Whale issue, but the most recent account-opening scandal at Wells Fargo shows how favorite CEOs can change. Now it appears as though JPMorgan has just lost one of the top candidates who would have succeeded Jamie Dimon after his eventual retirement.

An announcement from the bank was made on Thursday confirming that Matthew Zames, Chief Operating Officer, will leave the bank. This followed thirteen years at the firm, and Jamie Dimon note his service as having been “outstanding.”

The bank’s announcement signaled that Zames is working closely with the firm to ensure a smooth transition of his responsibilities to other members of the Operating Committee. It showed that Zames will continue to do so over the coming weeks. As a result  of this key departure, certain officers will have expanded roles and responsibilities until they can be filled. These were shown as follows:

  • Marianne Lake, Chief Financial Officer
  • Daniel Pinto, CEO of Corporate & Investment Bank
  • Gordon Smith, CEO of Consumer & Community Banking
  • Mary Erdoes, CEO of Asset Management
  • Doug Petno, CEO of the Commercial Bank.

Again, Zames had been considered a potential successor to Jamie Dimon when he eventually retires. CNBC commented on this as well:

Zames was considered by many to be a potential successor to Jamie Dimon when the CEO and Chairman eventually decided to step down. The Wall Street Journal in 2014 called him a “potential favorite” for the position because his work in helping Dimon navigate the financial crisis.

As far as what the terms and conditions will be and as far as where Zames may go after this, JPMorgan’s statement said:

The firm has entered into an agreement with Mr. Zames providing for a ninety-day garden leave, non-competition through February 1, 2018, non-solicitation of clients for one year following garden leave and non-solicitation/hire of employees for two years following garden leave. Subject to the terms of the Agreement, Mr. Zames will be deemed to qualify for full career eligibility for outstanding restricted share units and performance share units and entitled to a post-garden leave payment of $900,000, a discretionary payment of $4.625 million on February 1, 2018 and a discretionary payment of $4.5 million on February 1, 2019. The discretionary payments will be subject to the JPMorgan Chase Bonus Recoupment Policy and, to the extent set forth in the Agreement, Protection-Based Vesting, Recapture and Recovery provisions.

While this is the loss of a potential CEO replacement, the current belief by many investors is that Jamie Dimon has no intention of leaving the bank. On last look, Jamie Dimon was 61 years old versus just 46 for Zames.

JPMorgan shares were last seen trading up 1.4% at $85.10 just minutes before Thursday’s closing bell, versus a 52-week range of $57.05 to $93.98.