JPMorgan Chase announced on Tuesday that two women will eventually run its biggest business division. The bank’s chief financial officer Marianne Lake and the CFO, Jennifer Piepszak, will be elevated to co-CEOs of the second-most important position in the financial institution. The two will replace Gordon Smith, who has been managing the consumer banking division and is retiring at the end of the year.
In an internal memo, CEO Jamie Dimon announced this plan which is a signal that he is likely to recommend a woman to lead the bank in the future. Dimon has been managing JPMorgan Chase since 2005 and has had health issues in the past.
Jane Fraser is the CEO of Citigroup since the start of the year, and JPMorgan Chase will be the second bank to be headed by a woman in the event that a female is appointed to replace Dimon at the end of his term.
In his memo, Dimon said, “They have proven track records of working successfully across the firm and both are well known and respected within the financial industry for their exceptional character and capabilities.”
Smith, aged 62, was a likely successor of Dimon, aged 65, but their relatively close ages make him an unsuitable long-term successor. However, Smith will be remembered for creating Sapphire Reserve Card and promoting the use of digital channels in the bank’s customer relationship management.
Further, the financial industry is under intense pressure to promote women as the banking sector has been dominated mainly by men. Thus it’s most likely that a female will eventually head JPMorgan Chase.