JPMorgan's Dimon criticizes Wells Fargo CEO transition

Chief executive says it was 'irresponsible' for the bank to announce Tim Sloan's departure without a succession plan in place

May 28, 2019 @ 1:31 pm

By Bloomberg News

One of Wells Fargo & Co.'s biggest competitors isn't impressed with the bank's leadership transition.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. chief executive Jamie Dimon said it was "irresponsible" for Wells Fargo to announce CEO Tim Sloan's departure without a succession plan ready. Allen Parker, the bank's general counsel, took over as interim CEO in March and a search for an outside executive is ongoing.

Mr. Sloan's abrupt departure came days after he endured a congressional hearing and public criticism from regulators over the lender's scandals. At the time of Mr. Sloan's exit, no formal talks with possible successors had begun and a recruiting firm hadn't yet been selected to run the search.

"I'd be surprised if regulators wanted that to happen, because it's irresponsible," Mr. Dimon said Tuesday at a banking conference in New York. Mr. Dimon said he had no knowledge of what led to Mr. Sloan's exit.

(More: Maxine Waters puts bank chiefs in hot seat and gets results)

A Wells Fargo representative declined to comment.

Several of Mr. Dimon's deputies and potential successors have been mentioned as candidates in the CEO search at Wells Fargo. The JPMorgan chief said last week he's scared some of that top talent will be recruited away by competitors.

JPMorgan made management changes of its own in April, shifting responsibilities for two of its top female executives — Marianne Lake and Jennifer Piepszak — to help them gain experience that could one day help them succeed Mr. Dimon.

"It's important to move people around," Mr. Dimon said Tuesday. "I think we have two stars," he said, referring to Ms. Lake and Ms. Piepszak.

(More: Buffett urges Wells Fargo to look beyond Wall Street for CEO)

In other comments, Mr. Dimon said JPMorgan's trading revenue fell 4% to 5% during the first two months of the second quarter from a year earlier, excluding a gain.

"The next month could dramatically change that," he said.

The trade conflict between the U.S. and China has escalated beyond the level of a "skirmish" and could further weigh on the economy and markets, Mr. Dimon said.

JPMorgan sees room to boost market share in its Asia prime-brokerage business and fixed-income trading. Mr. Dimon expects credit losses to rise across products as businesses mature.

"On average, things will get worse over time, not because they're going to get bad, but because it's been so good for so long," he said. "There will be a return to normal."

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