Did JPMorgan just tip its hand on a succession plan?

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JPMorgan Chase may have moved a step closer Wednesday to clarifying who could someday succeed Jamie Dimon as CEO.

Marianne Lake, chief financial officer, was named CEO of the bank’s consumer lending division, effective May 1. Jennifer Piepszak, currently CEO of card services, will succeed Lake as CFO.

Lake — No. 2 on American Banker's 2018 Most Poweful Women in Banking list — has been widely viewed as a possible successor to Dimon, who last year said that he planned to stay at the helm for five more years. She has been CFO since January 2013 and has worked in commercial and retail divisions in two decades at the company. But the thinking has been that JPMorgan would eventually need to give her some experience running a business line to prep her to lead the entire company.

"If she is going to be in the running" to succeed Dimon "then she needs to run some businesses and generate some revenue successes," said Marty Mosby, an analyst at Vining Sparks.

"CFOs get a lot of great market experience," Mosby said. "However, they lack the vision of a business manager that has to compete in the market every day. This new job could give her that experience."

Asked in her Women in Banking profile whether she would be interested in running a business line, Lake emphasized that she was happy as CFO — but that she was also keeping all her options on the table.

“I’m kind of open-minded about what could be next,” she said in the profile, which was published in September. “There are a lot of interesting places to be in this company.”

Adding to the succession intrigue is that fact that Wells Fargo is searching for a new CEO. Much of the early speculation about Wells Fargo’s search has focused on executives from JPMorgan Chase, including Lake and Gordon Smith, the executive she will report to now as head of consumer lending.

In the newly created position of CEO of consumer lending, Lake will have oversight of card services, home lending and auto finance. She will report to Smith, co-president and co-chief operating officer of JPMorgan. Lake, 49, previously reported to Dimon. She will remain on the company’s operating committee in her new role.

“Marianne Lake has served with distinction as our firm’s CFO and as a deeply knowledgeable and trusted partner to me and my colleagues,” Dimon said in a news release. “We are fortunate to have such an extraordinary executive taking the helm of our Consumer Lending businesses.”

As CFO, Piepszak, also 49, will report to Dimon and will join the operating committee. Before heading card services, Piepszak was CEO of JPMorgan's business banking division. She began work at JPMorgan in 1994 and is also seen as a rising star in the company.

She was No. 4 on the Women to Watch list.

“Jennifer Piepszak is an enormously talented executive who has greatly strengthened the world-class Card Services business we have today,” Dimon, who is also chairman, said in the release. “Even more importantly, she is a first-class leader and partner who has excelled over the past 25 years in increasingly critical business and finance roles across our Corporate and Investment Bank and Consumer and Community Banking businesses.”

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Succession planning Career moves Consumer banking Consumer lending Corporate governance Marianne Lake JPMorgan Chase Women in Banking