JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM:US) Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon plans to be involved running the bank at a less intense pace as he fights throat cancer and said that the company is prepared for “all scenarios.”
Doctors told him he will need to rest after he undergoes an eight-week regimen of radiation and chemotherapy, he said today on a conference call with journalists. Dimon said he’ll continue to spend time in his office and take phone calls.
The plan is “to take it easy,” Dimon said. “It doesn’t mean not to work at all, but to focus on my health.”
Dimon, 58, raised fresh questions about succession planning at the New York-based bank when he announced the diagnosis July 1. He said today that Lee Raymond, the company’s lead director, is available if managers need guidance while Dimon is unavailable and that the board already had protocols in place for succession planning.
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The best option is to turn to an internal candidate first, he said. Dimon praised his deputies for expertise in businesses including fixed income, consumer lending and commercial banking and said a background in trading and investment banking shouldn’t be a requirement for the next CEO.
“We are fortunate enough to have an exceptional group of executives,” Dimon said in a separate conference call with analysts. “I think that many of them can run a major financial company, and the board feels the same way.”
Should an immediate replacement be needed, potential candidates include Gordon Smith, 55, who leads the consumer bank, and Mary Erdoes, 46, head of asset management, a person with knowledge of the situation said earlier.
Other candidates include Matt Zames, 43, co-chief operating officer; Daniel Pinto, 51, who runs the corporate and investment bank; Doug Petno, CEO of the commercial bank; and Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake.
Dimon discussed succession planning today after the company reported second-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates. The CEO said he feels great and is being treated by some of the world’s best doctors.
“The board will be continually briefed on my condition, if they feel there is any reason to say something material we will let you know,” said Dimon, who has led the bank for eight years. “I’m hoping the next time I talk about this at all will be in about eight weeks.”
About 27,000 cases of throat cancer are diagnosed annually with an estimated 6,100 deaths attributed to the disease each year in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute.
Today was the first time Dimon took questions about his health since the diagnosis was announced in a letter to staff. He said his thoughts went beyond the bank when told he had cancer.
“The thing you think about most is your family, of course,” Dimon said. “Much as I love JPMorgan.”
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