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Who Could Hate Something Called 'Project Mango'?

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Oh, right: The people who lost their jobs to it.

Barclays wins the award for tastiest nickname with its Project Mango. The head of Barclays’s investment bank picked that name to commemorate a gift of mangos he received from a client after the abrupt resignation last year of Chief Executive Bob Diamond. Mango’s mandate – slimming down Barclays’s huge investment bank – was decidedly less yummy, at least to the thousands of employees whose jobs were put on the chopping block….

Deutsche Bank used Project Integra as a moniker for its investment-banking cost-cutting. In the U.S., Cleveland-based regional lender KeyCorp has “Keyvolution.” Wells Fargo has Project Compass. Bank of America’s is Project New BAC (a reference to the bank’s ticker symbol)….

RBS might be the most prolific user of such corporate code names – a reflection of the vast number of businesses and asset portfolios it’s trying to sell. In addition to Project Rainbow, RBS executives have dreamed up a dizzying array of project names, derived from everything from trees (Project Chestnut, Project Beech and Project Birch) to weather conditions (Project Wind) to colors (Project Red and Project Green) to an executive’s daughter (Project Isobel).

Don't expect a euphemism brainstorming session at your local JPMC board meeting, however. Popularity-contest winner Jamie Dimon is too busy simultaneously chairing and chief executing.

The nicknaming trend has drawn ridicule from – who else? – J.P. Morgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon, who has told analysts that his bank is always focused on keeping costs low and doesn’t need silly nicknames to showcase the mission’s importance.

Banks Mask Pain With Colorful Nicknames [WSJ MoneyBeat blog]


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