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Originally published October 3, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 3, 2008 at 10:06 AM

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WaMu execs Fishman, Rotella are out; JPMorgan will honor employee pension plans

Former WaMu Chief Executive Alan Fishman, who replaced Kerry Killinger last month, and Chief Operating Officer Steve Rotella, who used to work for JPMorgan, are among executives leaving immediately in the wake of last week's takeover of the failed bank by JPMorgan Chase in New York.

Seattle Times business reporter

Former WaMu Chief Executive Alan Fishman, who replaced Kerry Killinger last month, and Chief Operating Officer Steve Rotella, who used to work for JPMorgan, are among executives leaving immediately in the wake of last week's takeover of the failed bank by JPMorgan Chase in New York.

The departing executives will not receive any special severance payments beyond what ordinary employees get, JPMorgan retail chief Charlie Scharf told workers Thursday.

The rest of WaMu's 43,200 workers will find out by Dec. 1 whether they can keep their jobs, Scharf said.

Some will stay long term, and others will be let go. A third group will be asked to stay for a transition period, at the end of which they would receive a bonus.

Laid-off workers, including those who stay through a transition, will receive severance based on WaMu's current severance plan.

Answering a question that has kept many WaMu employees and retirees on edge since the takeover, Scharf said pension, 401(k) and deferred-compensation plans will continue to be paid, even though JPMorgan Chase is not required to honor all of those plans.

JPMorgan will convert WaMu branches to its own Chase brand. It could take until the end of 2010 to complete that process, which involves merging the branches' computer systems.

Other executives who are leaving include Frank Baier, who followed Fishman to WaMu last month; human-resources chief Daryl David; corporate strategy and development chief Todd Baker; and chief legal counsel Michael Solender.

Executives who will stay include head of home loans David Schneider, head of commercial lending Al Brooks, chief information officer Deb Horvath, chief risk officer John McMurray and head of credit-card operations Tony Vuoto.

Scharf did not say how much it will cost to honor WaMu's deferred-compensation plans, which are tax-deferred plans for high-level managers.

It is unclear how many people take part in those and the retirement plans, but the company listed about 6,900 retirees on a 2006 IRS reporting form.

Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or mallison@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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