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Sideways: JPMorgan’s talented Mr Barnum

JPMorgan’s new chief financial officer, Jeremy Barnum, is an unusual choice for a role that has become a springboard for greater things.

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Jeremy Barnum, JPMorgan

JPMorgan’s reshuffle of senior managers in May drew attention for the appointment of Marianne Lake and Jennifer Piepszak as co-heads of consumer banking and the planned elevation of Daniel Pinto to sole president.

That positions Lake and Piepszak as joint top long-term contenders for Jamie Dimon’s job running the biggest US bank, while Pinto would take over if Dimon was forced to retire in the near term.

Pinto carried out this role in tandem with Gordon Smith – who is retiring later this year – when Dimon took time off for heart surgery in 2020; and Lake and Piepszak were both already viewed as contenders for the top job, so the announcement was not much of a surprise.

The elevation of Jeremy Barnum to succeed Piepszak as chief financial officer was less predictable. He has a more chequered past than most Wall Street CFOs and is not expected to take the title of potential candidate for chief executive that has been awarded to the two most recent finance heads.

Barnum has even been fired by JPMorgan, leaving his role as head of credit default swaps and co-head of North American credit trading in 2004 after losses of around $200 million contributed to trading results that were described at the time by Dimon (who was about to succeed Bill Harrison as chief executive) as “terrible”.