JPMorgan garners $8.5B profit, confusion over Jamie Dimon’s future

JPMorgan kicked off bank earnings season with record profits — and more fuzziness over CEO Jamie Dimon’s retirement plans.

The NYC-based bank said profits in the final three months of 2019 rose to $8.5 billion, or $2.57 a share, on revenues of $29.1 billion.

The stellar numbers beat Wall Street expectations amid strong consumer borrowing — sending the bank’s stock up 1.5 percent in midday trading.

But the good news was overshadowed by continued confusion over Dimon’s retirement plans after he said he will stick around for another five years — two years after he initially set the five-year goal.

“My statement stays identical: It’s five years,” Dimon, 63, said in a call with reporters when asked how long he will remain at the helm. “When — and if — we ever set an actual retirement date, we’ll let you know,” he quipped.

Dimon first suggested his time at JPMorgan might be limited in January 2018 when the company issued a press release announcing the promotion of two executives as part of a larger succession plan. Dimon was quoted in the release saying that “the board of directors and I have agreed that I will continue in my current role for approximately five more years.”

Last year, Dimon — who battled throat cancer in 2014 — added two female executives in the succession line after a kerfuffle at an April 2019 congressional hearing where he refused to raise his hand when he and other banking chiefs were asked if their successor might be a women or person of color.

The 2019 reshuffling is expected to give Dimon’s longtime chief financial officer, Marianne Lake, the consumer banking experience she would need to succeed him.

It also boosted the profile of another female executive, Jenn Piepszak, who is now JPMorgan’s CFO.

Also on Tuesday, Wells Fargo reported a 53 percent profit slump in the fourth-quarter tied to a $1.5 billion charge for costs linked to scandals over its business practices, including employees profiting from fake credit card accounts they opened in customers’ names.

Wells Fargo, which named former Dimon lieutenant and BNY Mellon CEO Charles Scharf as its chief in October, said it earned $2.86 billion in the three months ending in December, down from $6 billion the previous year, on revenue of $19.86 billion, a decline of 5 percent over the same quarter in 2018.

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