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JPMorgan names Jennifer Piepszak CFO as Marianne Lake to run consumer lending

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JPMorgan Chase & Co is swapping responsibilities for two of its top female executives as part of an effort to prepare potential successors for chief executive officer Jamie Dimon.

[NEW YORK] JPMorgan Chase & Co is swapping responsibilities for two of its top female executives as part of an effort to prepare potential successors for chief executive officer Jamie Dimon.

Chief financial officer Marianne Lake will become head of consumer lending, while Jennifer Piepszak, who previously led the cards business, will replace her as CFO and join JPMorgan's operating committee, the bank said in a statement Wednesday. The changes take effect May 1.

While JPMorgan is probably still years away from selecting its next leader, the shuffle would give Ms Lake and Ms Piepszak, both 49, opportunities to bolster the skills they'd need to lead the whole company. Ms Lake hasn't run any of JPMorgan's major business lines, while Ms Piepszak has had a lower public profile and wasn't previously part of the firm's top leadership group. None of the six largest US banks has ever elevated a woman to CEO.

"Marianne and Jenn are extraordinary executives and leaders who have been critical to our success," Mr Dimon and co-presidents Daniel Pinto and Gordon Smith wrote in a memo. "We are also proud that JPMorgan Chase has developed such a deep bench of extraordinary talent in these areas and across the firm."

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CARDS, HOME LENDING

Just last week, US lawmakers questioned Mr Dimon at a hearing alongside other bank CEOs, pressing them on whether a woman or member of a minority group might someday succeed them. Mr Dimon kept his hand down when asked if that's likely, but later told analysts he had misunderstood the question.

His successor "may very well be a woman," Mr Dimon said on a conference call Friday to discuss the company's earnings. "It really depends on the circumstance of the time, and it might be different if it's one year from now versus five years from now."

A year ago, Mr Dimon said he plans to hold his post for five more years. He handed off some responsibilities to lieutenants Mr Pinto, 56, and Mr Smith, 60. Ms Lake, asset management chief Mary Erdoes and commercial bank chief Doug Petno have been pointed to as the most likely successor candidates if Mr Dimon sticks to that timeline, in part because they're younger.

Ms Lake's name also has appeared on lists of executives who could theoretically take over at Wells Fargo & Co, which is searching for a new CEO.

Her new role at JPMorgan will include heading up the cards unit Ms Piepszak led as well as home lending and auto finance, reporting to Mr Smith. Ms Piepszak took over as CEO of card services in February 2017, six months after the bank introduced its popular Sapphire Reserve card.

Mr Dimon, who's served as CEO since 2005 and called finding a successor his No. 1 priority in 2010, is known for rotating senior managers among businesses to ensure there is a cast of people equipped to take over the company whenever he steps down.

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