JPMorgan Chief Operating Officer Matt Zames on Thursday joined Jes Staley, Mike Cavanagh, Frank Bisignano and manyothers in the elite pantheon of onetime potential successors to Jamie Dimon. In a memo sent to bank staff, Dimon announced that Zames was going, though he didn't say where:
“Matt has worked tirelessly across many disciplines to help make us a better company,” Dimon, 61, said Thursday in a memo to staff. “While I am sad to see him leave, I respect his decision and all he has done.”
The move comes as a bit of a surprise for an executive whose relative youth (46) and experience doing various bits of dirty work for Dimon made him a topcontender for assuming the much-envied role of Jamie The Second, should that day ever come.
Perhaps it will not, at least not anytime soon enough for Zames to happily twiddle his thumbs in the interim. Not only was no destination listed for Zames, nor any successor-successors named, but apparently no reason was given for his departure. The man himself had this to say:
“I’m very proud of all of the wonderful things the people here at JPMorgan Chase have accomplished as well as the amazing opportunities I’ve been given,” Zames said in the memo. “I’ve never been more optimistic about the future of the company.”
If experience is any guide, the outgoing COO will be switching out one of the O's in his title for an E sometime soon, following Dimon refugees like Blythe Masters and Bill Winters who assumed thrones at lesser kingdoms. Surely there's a mid-tier bank, hedge fund or insurance company out there who could use some of that JPM magic. That or a government agency. We hear they could use some help.
UPDATE: In an interview with the New York Times Thursday, Zames cleared up all the mystery. The reason for his sudden exit is simple: Zames just wants to drive his own choo-choo-train:
“I have been in this business almost 25 years. I spent the vast majority of my time running businesses, driving things forward, facing off against clients, taking business risk,” he said. “But at its core, look: I’ll be 47 in October. I want to get back to running the railroad — running my railroad, running my business. So it’s just a natural point.”