JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said on Tuesday he is starting to look for a successor, and he named Jes Staley, current head of the No. 2 U.S. bank's asset management unit, to the key post of investment bank CEO.
Dimon, 53, is not expected to leave any time soon. But as the easing of the financial crisis gives him time to think about the future, and as bank regulators step up scrutiny of banks' governance, he joins other Wall Street banks in firming up succession plans.
The timing was right to begin the succession process, Dimon said in a statement.
JPMorgan stopped short of saying Staley had been selected to succeed Dimon. But the investment bank is one of the most profitable JPMorgan units, and Dimon's successor is likely to come from that operation, analysts said.
Staley, 53, is seen as a key candidate on any list of possible successors to Dimon, given his experience across various parts of the bank.
After joining JPMorgan in 1979 he spent 20 years in the investment bank and headed equity capital markets before doing stints at the private bank and asset management operation.
As part of the shake-up, Bill Winters, 48, co-CEO of investment banking, is leaving JPMorgan. The other co-CEO, Steve Black, 57, becomes executive chairman of investment banking to oversee the transition to Staley as CEO.
Staley will report to Black during a transition period until the end of 2010, the bank said.
Mary Callahan Erdoes, 42, chief executive of JPMorgan's private bank, succeeds Staley as head of asset management.
Winters and Black were deeply involved in the acquisition and integration of Bear Stearns Cos. Both are long-time JPMorgan employees.
For a long time, there's been a question about whether you needed two co-heads of investment banking. Clearly, you didn't, said Nancy Bush, analyst and founder of NAB Research.
Winters' plans were unclear, but two people who have worked with him said his strong background in management and his experience during some of the worst days of the financial crisis will stand him in good stead if he seeks a management job elsewhere.
Dimon is regarded as a star on Wall Street who has led JPMorgan through face-changing acquisitions, including Bear Stearns and failed Seattle thrift Washington Mutual last year.
Investors said they would be surprised to see Dimon exit in the near term. But they said preparing a succession plan is a positive step for the bank.
As regulators scrutinize banks' boards and management teams in the wake of the financial crisis, other banks have recently laid out succession plans.
I think for every large bank there clearly is an increased regulatory pressure to have some kind of succession plan in place, said Bush.
Morgan Stanley earlier this month said James Gorman, 51, will take over from John Mack as chief executive on Jan 1. At Bank of America Corp , Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis has lined up five possible successors.
This is good management and good forward thinking on Jamie Dimon's part, said Richard Lipstein, managing director at Boyden Global Executive Search in New York.
JPMorgan shares were up 24 cents to $45.05 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Elinor Comlay; Editing by John Wallace)