FlyTitle: Succession at JPMorgan Chase

Should Wall Street’s most celebrated boss call it a day?

华尔街最著名的老板该收工了吗?

经济学人双语版-大功告成 Mission accomplished

WHEN JAMIE DIMON took the reins at JPMorgan Chase in 2005 he had, at the relatively tender age of 49, already earned himself a reputation. In the 1990s he was the wunderkind sidekick to the imperial Sandy Weill, then boss of Citigroup, the world’s pre-eminent bank. Still, while some peers described Mr Dimon as brilliant, charismatic, caring and dedicated, others complained he was abrasive, foul-mouthed and unpredictable. Plenty doubted he was well suited to such a large stage.

杰米·戴蒙(Jamie Dimon)2005年执掌摩根大通时,不过49岁的他已经功成名就。上世纪90年代,在全球最杰出的花旗银行,他是至高无上的老板桑迪·威尔(Sandy Weill)身边少年得志的亲信。不过,虽然一些同行形容他才华横溢、魅力非凡、富有爱心和献身精神,另一些人却抱怨他为人粗鲁、满嘴脏话、难以捉摸。很多人怀疑他是否适合这么大的舞台。

Mr Dimon has put paid to these doubters. JPMorgan weathered the financial crisis well and has since become the bank that all the others want to emulate. It is big, globally active, dominant in retail and investment banking, transparent, well capitalised and admirably profitable. Last year its return on equity was a handsome 15%. Its annual profits are now double the entire current market value of Deutsche Bank, once Europe’s pretender to the global investment-banking throne.

戴蒙让质疑者闭了嘴。摩根大通安然度过了金融危机,并从此成为所有其他银行想要效仿的对象。它规模庞大,纵横全球,在零售银行和投资银行领域占据主导地位,透明度高,资本充足,利润非常可观。去年它的股本回报率是15%,相当不俗。现在它的年利润是德意志银行目前总市值的两倍,这家欧洲银行曾经觊觎过全球投资银行的王位。

However, another big question has remained unanswered: when Mr Dimon should leave and who will run the bank after he is gone. It has been cast in sharp relief by the recent news that Mr Dimon has undergone emergency surgery for an “aortic dissection”, a rare heart condition. The bank says he is recovering well. But investors, the board, staff and regulators have had a reminder that one day JPMorgan will have to have a different leader.

但是,另一个大问题仍旧没有答案:戴蒙什么时候该离开,他走后谁来接任。最近戴蒙因患罕见的心脏疾病“主动脉夹层”接受了紧急手术,让这个问题愈发凸显。摩根大通表示他恢复得很好。但投资者、董事会、员工和监管机构都意识到,总有一天摩根大通将不得不换个领导人。

Wall Street’s biggest succession decision is tricky for several reasons. JPMorgan could benchmark itself against other banks: in 2018 the head of Goldman Sachs retired and a flurry of European banks have waved goodbye to their leaders in the past few months. But in all these cases the firms were performing below their potential. Aged 63, Mr Dimon is no geriatric—77 CEOs who are older than him are serving at firms in the S&P 500 index of America’s biggest companies. The most seasoned, Warren Buffett, is still, inadvisedly, clinging on at the age of 89.

华尔街这一最重大的继任决策颇为棘手,有几个原因。摩根大通可以对照一下其他银行的情况:2018年高盛的掌门人退休,过去几个月一批欧洲银行也纷纷向它们的将领挥手告别。但所有这些案例中,企业在当时都没能发挥出自身潜力。63岁的戴蒙还算不上老人家——在代表美国大企业的标准普尔500指数成分股公司里,有77位CEO年纪比他大。资历最老的当属巴菲特,他以89岁高龄坚守岗位,虽然这并非明智之举。

Mr Dimon has served for longer than the typical American CEO, who lasts about a decade. Bob Iger, the boss of Disney, has just stood down after 15 years at the top. But tenure is not, in and of itself, a disqualification. There are 66 S&P 500 CEOs who have been in place longer than Mr Dimon. Reed Hastings has run Netflix for over two decades and few reckon he should press stop.

美国CEO的任期通常在十年左右,戴蒙在位已经比这更久。迪士尼的老板鲍勃·伊格尔(Bob Iger)执掌公司15年,近期刚离任。但任期本身并不是必须退下来的原因。标普500公司中有66位CEO的任职时间比戴蒙长。里德·黑斯廷斯(Reed Hastings)执掌奈飞(Netflix)已有20多年,也没什么人觉得他该就此打住。

So how to make a decision? Two tests matter. The first is that Mr Dimon is not blocking the path of an entire generation of successors who might end up leaving or becoming disillusioned. Inevitably, one cohort has already departed. A JPMorgan diaspora now run financial firms all over the world, including Wells Fargo, Barclays and Standard Chartered. It would be a mistake to let another generation go, too. Mr Dimon has two co-presidents directly beneath him who are both aged about 60. Beneath them is a broader group of half-a-dozen potential successors, most of whom are in their 50s and still being battle-hardened.

那么该如何做决定呢?两项测试很重要。首先,戴蒙不能挡住整整一代继任者的道路,这些人最终可能离职或幻想破灭。不可避免的是,一些队友已经离开了。从摩根大通出去的人正在世界各地经营金融公司,包括富国银行、巴克莱银行和渣打银行。再让另一代人离开会是个错误。在戴蒙下一级的两位联席总裁都在60岁左右。在他们之下还有六位潜在继任者,其中多数50多岁,仍是久经沙场的厉害角色。

The second test is the likely time horizon of the strategic threats and opportunities that the bank faces. These mainly arise from technology—the prospect that big tech firms might challenge the big banks, or that new payments firms win huge customer bases independently of the banks, as they already have in China, or that new digital currencies take the world by storm. These trends will play out over a decade or more—and no one, not even Mr Dimon, thinks that he will stay that long.

第二个测试是摩根大通面临的战略威胁和机遇可能的时间跨度。它们主要源自科技:大型科技公司可能会挑战大银行,或者独立于银行之外的新型支付公司可能会赢得庞大的客户群(就像它们已在中国做到的那样),又或者是新的数字货币席卷全球。这些趋势将在十年或更长的时间里见分晓,但没有人——包括戴蒙自己——认为他会留任那么久。

Both tests suggest that Mr Dimon should leave the stage sooner rather than later. A good option would be for him to do so at the end of next year. By then the next generation of executives will have acquired the experience necessary to run the Western world’s biggest bank at a time of technological tumult, while not being so frustrated that they quit. Even if JPMorgan and Mr Dimon follow this advice, they and the shareholders should reflect on another succession. March 2nd saw the death of Jack Welch, the former chief executive of General Electric (GE), and perhaps the most celebrated American boss of recent decades. He retired from GE in 2001 on a high, but the firm soon slipped into brutal decline, reflecting in part long-standing problems that became clear only once he had left. The best bosses face up to the reality that at some point someone else has to be in charge. But even then their legacy can only be assessed years after they have thanked their team, shed a tear and walked out the door with their head held high.■

这两项测试都表明,戴蒙的谢幕宜早不宜迟。对他来说,明年年底是个不错的时间。到那时,下一代高管应该已经掌握了必要的经验,能够在科技带来的动荡中执掌这家西方世界最大的银行,同时又不会因为再也等不下去了而离开。即使摩根大通和戴蒙遵循这一建议,他们和股东也应该反思一下另一个继任案例。3月2日,通用电气前首席执行官、可能是近几十年来最著名的美国老板杰克·韦尔奇去世。2001年,他从处于鼎盛期的通用电气退休,但这家公司很快就陷入了严重的衰退,一定程度上反映出久已有之、却在他离开之后才清晰显现出来的问题。最好的老板会直面现实,知道到了某个时刻总得让其他人挑起担子来。但即便如此,要评估他们的遗产,也要等到他们感谢了自己的团队、流下一滴热泪、昂首走出公司大门的好几年之后。