- JPMorgan Chase shuffled its leadership Tuesday, promoting two women, Marianne Lake and Jennifer Piepszak, to become co-heads of the bank’s consumer and community banking unit, effective immediately, and putting each in a position to potentially succeed Jamie Dimon as CEO.
- The shift comes as the bank Tuesday announced Gordon Smith's retirement at the end of the year. Smith has run JPMorgan’s consumer banking division since 2012 and, in 2018, was elevated to co-president and co-chief operating officer, alongside Daniel Pinto, who leads JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank. Smith and Pinto led the bank for about a month at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic last year while Dimon recovered from emergency heart surgery. Smith will remain an adviser to Dimon and the bank after he retires.
- Dimon, 65, typically has been sheepish regarding questions of his own retirement timeline, joking repeatedly throughout his tenure that he would stay in the top spot another five years. That aside, JPMorgan’s board “has said it would like Jamie to remain in his role for a significant number of years,” bank spokesman Joseph Evangelisti said in a statement, according to The New York Times.
Tuesday’s moves make it increasingly likely that, when Dimon does step down, a second major U.S. bank will be led by a woman. Citi became the first this year, when Jane Fraser took that bank’s top role March 1.
“We are fortunate to have two such superb executives in Marianne and Jenn — they both are examples of our extremely talented and deep management bench,” Dimon wrote in a statement Tuesday, according to the Financial Times. “They have proven track records of working successfully across the firm.”
The management shuffle puts Lake and Piepszak in charge of a sprawling division that touches auto loans, mortgages, private wealth management and more. The consumer and community banking unit generated $51.3 billion in revenue last year, accounting for about 42% of JPMorgan’s profits, the Financial Times reported.
Lake has led the bank’s consumer lending unit for the past two years and served as JPMorgan’s CFO from 2013 to 2019. She previously worked as CFO for the consumer and community banking unit and as global controller for JPMorgan’s investment bank. In her new role, she will run payments, commerce and lending, which includes credit cards, home lending and auto financing, Smith wrote in a letter to staff.
Piepszak succeeded Lake as CFO in 2019. Prior to that, she served as CEO of the bank’s credit-card business, CEO of business banking and CFO of the bank’s mortgage unit. She began in JPMorgan’s investment-banking division and switched to consumer banking in 2010. In her new role, Piepszak will lead consumer and business banking and wealth management, Smith said.
The bank is also promoting Jeremy Barnum, head of global research for JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank, to CFO. The move is the second for Barnum in the past three months: Barnum shifted to research in February after serving as CFO and chief of staff for the corporate and investment bank since 2013.
The shuffle doesn’t necessarily ensure either Lake or Piepszak will succeed Dimon as CEO. If Dimon retires earlier rather than later, that role could still go to Pinto, 58, who, with Smith leaving, stands alone in JPMorgan’s No. 2 role.
At 62, Smith was seen increasingly unlikely to follow Dimon in leading the bank. Smith turned down the CEO role at Wells Fargo in 2019, according to The Wall Street Journal — a job that eventually went to Dimon protege Charlie Scharf.
Smith joined JPMorgan in 2007 to help build the bank’s credit-card business after a more-than-25-year stint at American Express. He is the last of the bank’s executives to serve with Dimon on the operating committee during the 2007-08 financial crisis — and someone Dimon has called one of his best-ever hires, according to the Journal.
Smith said he and his wife decided over the year-end holiday that 2021 would be a good year to retire.
“My wife and I became grandparents over Christmas and we discussed this then,” Smith told the Financial Times. “I helped the bank pilot through COVID and Jamie’s health scare [in 2020], so it felt 2022 would be the right time to take a step back.”
At 51 each, Lake and Piepszak are seen as leading candidates to take over JPMorgan’s CEO role if Dimon plays the long game with his tenure.
“Obviously, with each year that goes by, how could he not be a year closer,” Glenn Schorr, a banking analyst for Evercore ISI, told The New York Times.
But JPMorgan has seen its share of potential successors come and go as Dimon has stayed at the helm since late 2005.
However, Wells Fargo analyst Mike Mayo told Bloomberg, “this time does feel different.”
“It looks like a two-woman race for the CEO job of JPMorgan,” Mayo told the Financial Times.