Can JP Morgan do without Jamie Dimon?

Jamie Dimon's health has sparked discussion about who could succeed him as CEO of JP Morgan.

Shares in JP Morgan (JPM), like most equities, have been “pummelled” in the past week, says Hugh Son on CNBC. But investors received a rare bit of good news when it was revealed that CEO Jamie Dimon (pictured) has returned home after successful emergency heart surgery. 

While Dimon, who is the “longest-tenured CEO of an American megabank”, is expected to return to his job later this year, the incident has “sparked discussion about potential successors”.

It’s not surprising that investors are anxious about Dimon’s health, says The Economist. Over 15 years Dimon “has built JPM into the world’s most reputable bank”. It is America’s biggest by assets and its “most profitable”, last year “breaking the world record for bank earnings in a single year”.

While Dimon has been “lucky”, with JPM benefiting from the changes in bank regulation, he’s also made some sensible strategic decisions, such as the decision to focus on “ridding the bank of flab” and then shoring up JPM’s balance sheet before the global financial crisis erupted ten years ago.

Still, there are plenty of “long-standing lieutenants” who are “ready to step in”, such as Daniel Pinto and Gordon Smith, says Jeffrey Goldfarb for Breakingviews. None of them will be able to emulate Dimon’s “statesman-like role”, but they should be able to reassure customers and shareholders that the success he has spearheaded “is poised to continue. Dimon’s departure will also give some sense of whether he has “properly prepared the institution to function without him”.

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