NEW YORK (TheStreet) --Never a bank to miss an opportunity, JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report) is trying to make lemons into lemonade by using the departure of a key executive to continue its endless lobbying for lighter regulations.
"People close to him" told The Wall Street Journal that "Mr. Cavanagh's decision was partly motivated by the bank's legal and regulatory battles."
And people "who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly," told The New York Times that "in weighing his choices, Mr. Cavanagh winced at the idea of facing similar scrutiny one day if he became chief executive."The Times story, presumably driven by its Dealbook persona, also includes this gem: "Industry analysts worry that the lure of private equity firms and other players could siphon some of the most capable executives away from overseeing banks that are critically important to the economy."
So now the talk is that Gordon Smith, a former American Express (AXP) executive, may be groomed as Dimon's successor. He doesn't have an investment banking background, and so hasn't been knee-deep in the dark arts of derivatives trades that lost JPMorgan $6.2 billion during the 2012 London Whale debacle. Fine. But those trades are now supposedly illegal under the Volcker Rule anyway, assuming regulators wrote the rule correctly and actually enforce the rule. And if they don't, well, that's why banks are holding more capital. Because let's remember who was running JPMorgan when it botched those trades: the great intellectual known as Jamie Dimon Follow @dan_freed