JPMorgan just lost one of the few people who could take over for Jamie Dimon

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Michael Cavanagh
Michael Cavanagh
Image: Reuters/Gary Cameron

JPMorgan Chase is losing one of its highest ranking senior executives.

Michael Cavanagh, the bank’s co-head of investment banking, is joining the Washington, DC-based private equity firm Carlyle Group, according to reports this morning. Daniel Pinto, JPMorgan’s other co-head of the investment bank, will be named sole head of the unit.

Cavanagh is one of a handful of high-profile executives who had a shot of succeeding Jamie Dimon as chief executive of the largest US bank by assets. His departure leaves Marianne Lake, who was named CFO two years ago, and JPMorgan chief operating office Matt Zames as the insiders to watch.

Cavanagh’s exit from the firm after more than a decade is perhaps the most significant in a recent string of leadership departures from the bank. Others include Ina Drew, former chief investment officer of the firm’s proprietary trading unit, who bowed out amid the trading scandal known as the “London whale“; Charlie Scharf, former head of the the bank’s retail division; James “Jes” Staley, former head of investment banking; and Heidi Miller, former head of international operations.

The New York Times had a good photo composite in an article last year highlighting some of these departures:

Image for article titled JPMorgan just lost one of the few people who could take over for Jamie Dimon
Image: New York Times photo compilation

However, Cavanagh’s departure is particularly important. He has been widely viewed as one of Dimon’s closest consiglieres and is on a short list officials who have been with Dimon since the start of the the CEO’s ascendancy. Cavanagh, along with Zames, has also played a sort of Mr. Fix-it role in trying to address the fallout from the bank’s embarrassing trading scandal two years ago. He also has served a number of key roles at the firm, including chief financial officer during the height of the financial crisis and head of a unit of the bank focused on trading US government bonds.

“I have worked with Mike Cavanagh for more than 20 years,” Dimon said in a statement. “He’s a highly talented executive and has been an integral part of our management team, as our CFO for six years and as co-CEO of the corporate and investment bank. He’s also a special person and we wish him well in his choice to take on a new challenge.”

JPMorgan did not immediately return a call requesting comment.