Jamie Dimon promotes protégé to new global role at JPMorgan
The senior management changes increased speculation that Jamie Dimon is grooming longtime loyalists as potential successors to run JPMorgan Chase, the second-largest U.S. bank.
NEW YORK — Heidi Miller, a confidant of Jamie Dimon for nearly two decades, more than quintupled pretax profit at JPMorgan Chase's treasury unit since taking over the division in 2004. Her reward: a newly created job heading the Global Corporate Bank.
The role, handed to Miller in a series of senior-management changes Tuesday, increased speculation that Dimon, the bank's 54-year-old chief executive officer, is grooming longtime loyalists such as Miller and Mike Cavanagh as potential successors to run the second-largest U.S. bank. Cavanagh, 44, took over Miller's job from the chief financial-officer post.
Miller, 57, has been climbing the Wall Street power roster since taking over JPMorgan's payment-processing division six years ago. Since then, she has been ranked among Fortune's "Top 50 Women in Banking" and Forbes's "100 Most Powerful Women." Last year she topped Crain's "50 Most Powerful Women in New York."
Dimon said in March that he planned to rotate senior executives across business lines as part of a succession plan.
The treasury business provides clients with payment processing and cash management. The unit handles an average of $3.7 trillion in transfers daily and has $15.3 trillion in assets under custody.
Miller turned the business around and generated a reliably high return on equity throughout the economic crisis, according to Hintz.
Few executives have worked with Dimon as long as Miller. And few have been as loyal. Dimon hired Miller away from Chemical Bank as his assistant at Travelers Group in 1992.
Miller was Dimon's chief credit officer and risk officer at Salomon Smith Barney and served as CFO under Dimon at both Travelers and Citigroup.
She had stints on her own as CFO at discount Internet travel agency Priceline.com and as a vice chairman at insurance broker Marsh from 2000 to early 2002, when Dimon lured her to Bank One in Chicago as CFO.
He then brought her along as part of his senior-management team when JPMorgan merged with Bank One in 2004.
"I had a few excursions off the reservation," Miller said. "I've always come back to recognize that sometimes when you have a great boss — and I do think Jamie is a great CEO, he has huge integrity, great business judgment — it's worth staying with that person."
Miller doesn't have a formal education in business. She was among the first women ever admitted to Princeton University, where she graduated in 1974 with a history degree.
She went on to earn a doctorate from Yale University in Latin American studies and landed her first job with Chemical Bank in its Latin American division in 1979 as a banker-credit trainee.
She serves as a trustee at Princeton along with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who graduated two years behind Miller in 1976, and sits on the board at General Mills.
She said the bank has a "good presence" internationally. "The question is, can we accelerate growth plans in Asia, can we accelerate what's going to be growth in emerging Europe and Latin America?" she said. "That's our goal."
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