Markets

JPMorgan says CEO Jamie Dimon is recuperating after emergency heart surgery

Key Points
  • JPMorgan said Thursday that CEO Jamie Dimon is recuperating after having emergency heart surgery to repair an acute aortic dissection.
  • Co-presidents Daniel Pinto and Gordon Smith will be jointly leading the company as Dimon recuperates.
  • Dimon presented at the company's annual investor day in late February.
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JPM CEO Jamie Dimon has successful emergency heart surgery

JPMorgan said Thursday that CEO Jamie Dimon is recuperating after having emergency heart surgery to repair an acute aortic dissection.

Co-presidents Daniel Pinto and Gordon Smith sent a memo to employees and shareholders which said Dimon underwent successful emergency heart surgery and was alert and doing well: 

"We want to let you know that Jamie experienced an acute aortic dissection this morning. He underwent successful emergency heart surgery to repair the dissection. The good news is that it was caught early and the surgery was successful. He is awake, alert and recovering well."

CNBC's Wilfred Frost reported Dimon woke up with chest pains Thursday morning and went to the hospital.

Pinto and Smith will be jointly leading the company as Dimon, 63, recuperates, the memo said.

"As Co-Presidents and Chief Operating Officers, we have been working hand-in-hand with Jamie and the Board over the past two years to help lead our company," Pinto and Smith said in the memo. 

An aortic dissection occurs when the inner layer of the large blood vessel branching off the heart tears, according to the Mayo Clinic, which says the condition can be fatal.

The bank's lead director Lee Raymond said in the memo that the board had been "fully briefed on these developments and has asked Daniel and Gordon to lead the company during this period."

Raymond added that the company has "exceptional leaders across our businesses and functions – led by our outstanding CEO and Co-Presidents. Our company will move forward together with confidence as we continue to serve our customers, clients, communities and shareholders."

Dimon presented at the company's annual investor day in late February.

"Just last week, the firm hosted our Investor Day, where we provided comprehensive updates on our strategy and priorities going forward. We will continue to execute on all of these plans," Pinto and Smith said in their statement. "We have also been deeply involved in all of the critical firmwide functions."

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When Pinto and Smith became co-presidents two years ago, it was with the tacit acknowledgement that should Dimon be unable to perform as CEO, the company had two trusted leaders at the ready. At the time, Dimon had announced that he would serve as CEO for approximately five more years.

This is not the first health scare for Dimon. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014, and while he underwent eight weeks of chemotherapy, Dimon still led the New York-based bank. He recovered completely.

Dimon has led JPMorgan since 2006, making him the longest-tenured of CEOs among the U.S. megabanks. He's also been his industry's top spokesman, opining on matters from regulation to politics and the economy.

That's probably because under Dimon, JPMorgan has outperformed his peers. Compared to his competitors, he exercised restraint in the run-up to the housing bubble, and that left JPMorgan in a superior position as it ended.

He snapped up Bear Stearns and the banking operations of Washington Mutual during the 2008 financial crisis, and JPMorgan emerged to eventually become the biggest U.S. bank by assets. Later, JPMorgan would become the most valuable bank in the world by market capitalization.

In the process, the bank became a top player in all things financial, from credit cards and checking accounts on Main Street to institutional trading and mergers on Wall Street. And JPMorgan became a CEO training ground: Dimon's deputies have gone on to lead banks including Wells Fargo, Barclays and Standard Chartered.

Read the full statement from Pinto and Smith here:

Message from Daniel Pinto and Gordon Smith
Dear Colleagues, Shareholders and Clients –
 
We want to let you know that Jamie experienced an acute aortic dissection this morning. He underwent successful emergency heart surgery to repair the dissection. The good news is that it was caught early and the surgery was successful. He is awake, alert and recovering well. 
 
Our Lead Director, Lee Raymond, said today, "Our Board has been fully briefed on these developments and has asked Daniel and Gordon to lead the company during this period, as Jamie recuperates. We have exceptional leaders across our businesses and functions – led by our outstanding CEO and Co-Presidents. Our company will move forward together with confidence as we continue to serve our customers, clients, communities and shareholders."
 
As Co-Presidents and Chief Operating Officers, we have been working hand-in-hand with Jamie and the Board over the past two years to help lead our company. This is in addition to directly running the firm's Corporate & Investment Bank and Consumer & Community Banking businesses, which represent the majority of the firm's businesses. We have also been deeply involved in all of the critical firmwide functions. 
 
Just last week, the firm hosted our Investor Day, where we provided comprehensive updates on our strategy and priorities going forward. We will continue to execute on all of these plans.
 
As we always have done, this is a time for all of us to stay focused on our important responsibilities. We know you all join us in wishing Jamie our very best and a smooth and speedy recovery.

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