JPMorgan is poaching talent from Silicon Valley

Buck up Jamie, it was just one quarter.
Buck up Jamie, it was just one quarter.
Image: Reuters/Lucas Jackson
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If you can’t beat them, hire them. That’s the strategy of JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon.

The chief executive of America’s biggest bank by assets has started plucking talent from Silicon Valley in an effort to beef up the its digital presence in everything from apps to mobile payments.

This new crop of JPMorgan execs comes with résumés touting senior positions at tech hubs such as Google and Yahoo, or computer science degrees, rather than traditional banking credentials. And they’re climbing aboard at the sprawling consumer bank as traditional financial institutions face their stiffest competition yet from the likes of digital payment systems, including Jack Dorsey‘s Square and Google Wallet.

Dimon has expressed some some defensiveness when it comes to the tech elite. ”When I go to Silicon Valley…they all want to eat our lunch. Every single one of them is going to try,” Dimon said at an annual investor day meeting in late February.  He reiterated those thoughts at a recent conference in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. “We move $10 trillion a day,” Dimon said at a Euromoney Saudi Arabia conference. “We’re one of the largest payments systems in the world. We’re going to have competition from Google and Facebook and somebody else.”

And that embattled mentality is probably the key to why Dimon has been so busy poaching talent from Silicon Valley over the past year.

Here are a few relatively recent hires at JPMorgan Chase:

  • Tim Parsey – Formerly a senior vice president of design for Yahoo, Parsey, who is based in San Francisco, joined the bank five months ago. He’s head of digital customer experience.
  • Abhijit Bose - Bose joined JPMorgan last month as head of the firm’s data intelligence. He’s tasked with helping the firm better use customer information and habits to personalize their experiences on digital platforms like its banking apps. He was part of the founding team who helped develop Google+ (a Facebook-like social media application).
  • Gavin Michael– A Ph.D. in computer science, Michael joined  JPMorgan last year to run the bank’s digital focus on consumer and community banking.
  • Claudia Richter –Based in San Francisco, Richter joined the bank a little over a year ago from a Silicon Valley startup called Nexxo Financial, focused on digital payment integration. Richter is responsible for “monitoring and measuring the performance of Chase’s digital assets based on feedback and customer data.” She also has banking experience from Visa and Accenture.
  •  Josh Klenert –Also located in San Francisco, Klenert reports to Parsey. He is involved in design—specifically, ensuring that digital applications aesthetically work across different web and mobile devices. He joined last month from the Huffington Post.

JPMorgan is hoping its new tech crew will allow it to create consumer-focused apps and digital services that can go toe-to-toe with its tech rivals. The bank recently refreshed its iPhone app. It is also aiming to regularly revamp its web and digital presence, offering services akin to Google Wallet, people familiar with the matter say.