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JPMorgan Chase shakes up senior leadership, Dimon staying five more years

Is the bank setting up a competition for the top spot?

Daniel Pinto and Gordon Smith have been appointed co-presidents and co-chief operating officers of JPMorgan Chase.

Both men will retain their current positions and continue to report to Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO. In addition to their current roles, Pinto and Smith “will work closely with Dimon to help drive firmwide opportunities,” the banking giant said in a release. Responsibilities for the rest of the firm's operating committee remain unchanged, with its members continuing to report to Dimon.

Pinto is presently serving as the chief executive officer of JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank and Smith currently serves as the bank’s chief executive officer of consumer and community banking. In the announcement, Dimon also made it known that he would be staying in his current position for five more years.

"While the board of directors and I have agreed that I will continue in my current role for approximately five more years, the promotions we announced today reflect the enormous contributions that Gordon and Daniel have made to the continuing success of our company,” Dimon said. “Both have proven track records of working successfully across the firm, and both truly possess the capabilities, character and intellect that exemplify great leadership.”

In the bank’s statement, Dimon added that Pinto and Smith are “leading innovators in their respective businesses — embracing cutting edge technology and customer solutions that have earned them consistently growing market shares. These are particularly important skills as the firm works to fuel continued healthy growth with its wholesale and consumer customers.”

Could this be setting up a competition between Pinto and Smith to succeed Dimon? Potentially, as Reuters notes in its coverage:

While their names have been mentioned before as potential successors to Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, their elevation is the clearest signal that planning is actively under way for when he steps aside.

Dimon, 61, has been running JPMorgan since 2005, making him one of just two big bank CEOs who have been in the role since before the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

The other is Goldman Sachs Group Inc CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who also has two deputies acting as co-presidents and co-COOs.The question of who will be succeed Dimon is one of Wall Street’s favorite parlor games, and his eventual departure is something that worries investors who credit him with steering JPMorgan through the financial crisis and turning it into the largest U.S. bank.

The bank said in its release that management succession planning is the highest priority of the firm's board of directors, adding, “The Board knows the firm's senior leaders well through unfettered access and significant interaction. 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. Many of the company's top leaders have taken on firmwide responsibilities in addition to their specific mandates and have demonstrated their ability to manage at the highest level.”

"I am greatly honored and humbled to be named a president of this extraordinary institution," said Daniel Pinto, "and I'm extremely fortunate to be sharing this role with Gordon Smith, who has been an outstanding partner and friend to me. We both care deeply about our company and our people, and we are committed to building on JPMorgan Chase's great successes."

Smith added, "I deeply appreciate what a tremendous honor and responsibility it is to take on this broader role, and I couldn't ask for a better partner in Daniel. We talk nearly every day, and I greatly value his counsel and friendship. It's a privilege to work with him and my other outstanding colleagues on the operating committee on behalf of our millions of customers and clients and to help develop the next generation of leaders at JPMorgan Chase."

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