September 17, 2018 / 10:01 AM / 2 years ago

RPT-INSIGHT-How JPMorgan's CFO became the top prospect to succeed Dimon

 (Repeats Sept. 14 item with no changes to text)
    By David Henry
    NEW YORK, Sept 14 (Reuters) - As a single mother with a
British accent who loves numbers, Marianne Lake bears little
resemblance to Jamie Dimon, the longtime chief executive of
JPMorgan Chase & Co        , known for his bravado, quips and
occasional profanity-laced outbursts.
    Yet Lake has emerged as a front-runner to replace Dimon when
he eventually retires, Reuters interviews with more than a dozen
current and former executives show.
    Over her nearly six years as JPMorgan's chief financial
officer Lake, 49, has taken on more and more responsibilities
effectively becoming Dimon's understudy. She helps develop
strategies for each of the bank's business units and oversees
matters ranging from its annual stress test to employee
    Largely unknown outside JPMorgan when named CFO in 2012,
Lake has worked in both the wholesale and retail businesses
during 19 years there. "She has been all over," Dimon, 62, said
in an interview, describing Lake as an "extraordinarily talented
    “She has all of the qualities of a great leader,” he said.
Those include being demanding, drawing information out of people
and recognizing talent within the 15,000 people she oversees.
Dimon said she also challenges him when she believes he is
    Lake, who also spoke to Reuters, said she wanted to broaden
her skillset in her next job and has made her ambitions clear to
the board chaired by Dimon. She declined to predict whether she
will be the next CEO.
   "I want to be at this company 10 years from now and I will be
quite open-minded about what the next step could look like," she
said. "I have told the board that I want to be here for the
    Dimon has been CEO for nearly 13 years, the longest tenure
among major U.S. banks. He is a larger-than-life figure who
steered JPMorgan through the financial crisis and regularly
stands up to regulators and politicians. The question of who
could succeed him has captivated Wall Street for years.
    Lake's standing has risen as other CEO candidates have left
JPMorgan after growing impatient or getting on Dimon's wrong
side, executives said. "I would put my money on her above
anybody else," said one longtime JPMorgan executive who spoke on
the condition of anonymity.
   "She knows the bank extremely well, with her role spanning
all of our businesses and functions," said Gordon Smith,
co-president of the company and chief executive of JPMorgan’s
consumer bank.    
   Dimon, who has said he will step down in about five years,
would not discuss Lake's chances. It is the board's choice, and
there are other people who could also run the company, he
said. And, Dimon cautioned, "Things change...Everybody changes.”
    JPMorgan has said it has a succession plan and that it
strives to give executives experience in its different
businesses, but it does not publicly disclose the details.
    Two people analysts often mention as possible successors if
Dimon were to suddenly leave are Smith, 60, and the other
co-president Daniel Pinto, 55, who runs the investment bank.
Mary Erdoes, 51, chief of asset and wealth management, and Doug
Petno, 53, chief of the commercial bank, have also been cited
over the years.
    When former CFO Douglas Braunstein stepped down in 2012 in
the wake of the "London whale" scandal in which a JPMorgan
trader lost more than $6 billion, Lake was one of several
executives interviewing for the CFO job. In the interview, Lake
credited a colleague for a piece of advice she says helped her
win the promotion: Tell Dimon how much you want the job and tell
him how hard you will work for him.
    "If you don't tell people you really want a job, then you
have no shot,” said Lake.
    Born in Maryland and raised by working-class parents in
southern England, Lake joined JPMorgan’s London office as chief
financial officer for credit trading at age 30, after working on
the JPMorgan account for PricewaterhouseCoopers accounting firm.
She moved to the United States in 2004 as JPMorgan was merging
with Bank One, which Dimon ran before becoming CEO of the
combined organization.
    She worked on an expensive, multi-year drive to combine
JPMorgan's data and accounting systems and the implementation of
Sarbanes-Oxley accounting controls. She was controller of the
investment bank during the 2007-2009 financial crisis, and ran
finances for the retail bank as the mortgage business went
through drastic changes afterward.
    Dimon named her to the current post in November 2012 and
colleagues were stunned by her intensity in preparing for her
first quarterly results presentation in January.
    "She always wants to understand the why behind the things
she would say," recalled Sarah Youngwood, then head of investor
relations. "It is still happening to this day."
    Lake talks too fast for some people to keep up. "That is
because she thinks so fast, but she has slowed it down," said
Youngwood, who now has Lake's old job of CFO for the consumer
    Lake said she sometimes counts to herself to reduce the
    Bank analysts say they welcome all of the information Lake
packs into her presentations and they like that she is quick to
thoroughly address questions on investor minds.
   For example, after Goldman Sachs analyst Richard Ramsden
published a report in January 2015 asking whether JPMorgan
should break itself up because of new regulations, Lake made a
case that the bank would thrive because of its size.
   "She is probably one of the most gifted CFOs around," Ramsden
said. “She is really at the top of every dynamic at JPMorgan."
    Lake’s speed, demands for information, and visual memory of
numbers can intimidate new hires, people who work with her said.
Dimon said he and Lake sometimes challenge one another to
remember numbers down to one decimal point. “We have a lot of
fun with each other,” he said.
    Lake had her three children through a surrogate starting at
the age 42 after she decided that, even without a partner, she
wanted to be a parent. She said she realized after she became
CFO that her story could inspire other career-driven women at
the bank and she tells it frequently. One junior colleague
described Lake’s parenting decision as “fearless.”
    “It's too easy to say it's not convenient right now” to have
a child, said Lake. “On big life-changing decisions like that,
you just have to go for it.”
    In a nod to her expanding role, JPMorgan put Lake at center
stage at its four-hour investor conference this year. Typically,
all the business heads would give their own presentations, but
this time, Lake spoke for an hour and a half, explaining
strategies for each of JPMorgan’s four segments and giving an
overview of how the bank is using technology to cut costs and
generate more revenue. 
    Lake says she is ready to take on a different role at
JPMorgan and that the next CEO’s main challenge will be making
sure JPMorgan remains the country’s most profitable big bank.
    "When you are a successful company," she said, "you have to
fight really hard to make sure you avoid complacency, arrogance,

 (Reporting by David Henry
Writing by Lauren Tara LaCapra
Editing by Neal Templin and Tomasz Janowski)
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