Abigail with attitude: The curious tale of Jes Staley's departure

By:
Abigail Hofman
Published on:

In January, we received news that Jes Staley, the former head of JPMorgan’s investment bank, was leaving the firm to join the hedge fund BlueMountain Capital. This story has several interesting aspects.

Commentators are fixated on the fact that BlueMountain, which is run by another JPMorgan alumnus Andrew Feldstein, made substantial profits in 2012 by betting against the trades accumulated by the London Whale.

However, I am more intrigued by the stalling of Staley. In late 2009, when Bill Winters was ousted as co-chief of the investment bank, and Jes stepped into the breach, Staley was serenaded as the new golden boy. Some even talked of him as a successor to group CEO Jamie Dimon.

However, despite producing respectable returns, Staley was himself ousted in July 2012 and replaced by co-heads Michael Cavanagh and Daniel Pinto. Both...