JPMorgan started the bank earnings season with record profits, and more confusion about the retirement plans of CEO Jamie Dimon.
The New York-based bank said earnings in the last three months of 2019 increased to $ 8.5 billion, or $ 2.57 per share, over revenues of $ 29.1 billion.
The stellar figures exceeded Wall Street expectations amid heavy consumer indebtedness, which raised the bank’s shares 1.5 percent in midday operations.
But the good news was overshadowed by the continuing confusion about Dimon’s retirement plans after he said he would stay for another five years, two years after he initially set the five-year goal.
“My statement remains identical: it’s five years,” Dimon, 63, said in a call to reporters when asked how long he will remain at the helm. “When, and if, we ever set a real retirement date, we will let you know,” he joked.
Dimon first suggested that his time at JPMorgan could be limited in January 2018 when the company issued a press release announcing the promotion of two executives as part of a broader succession plan. Dimon was quoted in the statement saying that “the board of directors and I have agreed that I will continue in my current position for approximately five more years.”
Last year, Dimon, who fought against throat cancer in 2014, added two executives in the line of succession after a dispute at a congressional hearing in April 2019, where he refused to raise his hand when asked to him and other bank managers if his successor could be a woman or person of color.
The 2019 reorganization is expected to give Marianne Lake, Dimon’s financial director, the consumer banking experience she would need to succeed.
It also increased the profile of another executive, Jenn Piepszak, who is now the financial director of JPMorgan.
Also on Tuesday, Wells Fargo reported a 53 percent drop in earnings in the fourth quarter linked to a $ 1.5 billion charge for costs related to scandals about its business practices, including employees who benefit from the accounts of fake credit cards that opened in the name of customers.
Wells Fargo, who named former Dimon lieutenant and BNY Mellon CEO Charles Scharf as his boss in October, said he earned $ 2.86 billion in the three months ended in December, below $ 6 billion a year. Previous, in revenue of $ 19.86 billion, a 5 percent decrease during the same quarter in 2018.