J.P. Morgan Chase and Wall Street has lost one of its most important bankers. The giant global bank announced that Vice Chairman James Bainbridge Lee died unexpectedly Wednesday morning. The cause of death wasn’t disclosed.
According to sources familiar with the family, Lee had been exercising before complaining of having trouble breathing and being taken to the hospital.
Inside and outside the halls of J.P. Morgan
Lee, 62, known for his prototypical Wall Street suspenders-and-cuffed shirt look, was considered one of the best rainmakers on Wall Street and one of J.P. Morgan CEO Jaime Dimon’s closest consiglieres.
Dimon gathered about 30 of the people who worked with Lee and informed them of Lee’s passing Wednesday morning.
Here’s what Dimon had to say about him in a statement:
“It is with deep sorrow and a heavy heart that I inform you that our beloved friend and colleague, Jimmy Lee, unexpectedly died this morning. Our prayers and thoughts are with his wife Beth, his three children, Lexi, Jamie and Izzy, and his entire family, whom he dearly loved. Jimmy was a great friend, leader and mentor to me and so many others. As Vice Chairman of our company and former head of our Investment Bank, Jimmy made an indelible and invaluable contribution to our company, our people, our clients and our industry over his nearly 40 years of dedicated and selfless service. Jimmy was a master of his craft, but he was so much more — he was an incomparable force of nature.
To all who had the honor of knowing him, he will be sorely missed. We love you Jimmy.”
Here’s what you need to know about Jimmy Lee:
- He was considered the trillion-dollar banker because of his prolific deal making prowess over his four-decade career, as this Bloomberg video explains.
It was said that he boasts Wall Street’s fattest Rolodex. Activist investor Carl Icahn, Michael Dell, General Electric’s head
Jeff Immelt, Walt Disney Co.’s
chief Bob Iger are all on a first-name basis with Lee.
- He was an avid golfer and would often host golf tournaments for clients where he’d offer his take on the environment for deals and the health of the broader market.
He’s associated with fairly high-profile mergers but also some of the markets biggest initial public offerings, including Facebook Inc.
and Twitter Inc.
even though Lee hadn’t ever even tweeted before landing the IPO assignment.
- In Wall Street circles, there was no one better known.
Lee ‘s office often was festooned with mementos from successful deals. Marketing material from IPOs from Facebook to King Digital Entertainment
in which he’d also played a part, at times, could be seen on his desk. His massive office resembled that of Gordon Gekko, the fictional villain from the movie “Wall Street,” with an array of computer monitors and TV screens on display.
The veteran banker was often associated with high-profile mergers and acquisitions and later with helping usher in the era of leveraged buyouts during the 1980s. Lee graduated from Williams College in 1975, where he ran track, before joining Chemical Bank, which through a series of mergers, would become part of what is now J.P. Morgan Chase. Within J.P. Morgan, Lee has been a sort of touchstone.
When the bank was slammed by the so-called London whale trading scandal in 2012, Lee enlisted New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady to offer Dimon a pep talk, sources have told MarketWatch.
Lee‘s passing leaves a void at the bank that may not be easy filled.
View more information: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/wall-streets-most-prominent-banker-just-died-2015-06-17