What does it really require to get the sort of first job at J.P. Morgan that launch you as a banker? Share on twitter The terrible tale of Joe Gao (AKA Gao Jue) suggests a powerful and well-connected father will not go amiss.
The Wall Street Journal details how J.P. Morgan hired then-25 year-old Joe Gao onto its New York analyst programme in the summer of 2007. It continued to employ him despite a litany of errors.
Gao achieved a place on the J.P.M. programme despite being a weak applicant from the start. Share on twitter He was ill-qualified and he reportedly performed so terribly at interview that one J.P. Morgan managing director declared that he was, ‘the worst candidate he had ever seen.’ Once hired, Gao let his work permit expire and ‘his performance was not rated high.’ After surviving a brutal round of layoffs in May 2008, Gao accidentally copied a member of J.P. Morgan’s human resources team into a sexually explicit email. Described by a senior banker as, “immature, irresponsible and unreliable,” Gao was nonetheless kept on and given a smaller workload than other analysts. Why?
Gao’s father is China’s commerce minister. The WSJ says it’s not entirely certain that Gao got a job at his father’s behest, but points out that Gao-senior coincidentally met then J.PM. banker (and head of corporate social responsibiity) William Daley in 2006, several months before a job offer was extended. The CEO of WuXi PharmaTech Inc, a client of J.P. Morgan’s, also suggested that the bank might employ the 25 year-old. And when Joe Gao’s redundancy was imminent, his father secured a one-to-one meal with J.P. Morgan’s then head of China and promised to go ‘extra miles’ for the bank if his son was kept on.
Despite all these interventions, Joe Gao was eventually let go. After a period of exile (at Zurich Insurance Group and the New York Stock Exchange), he was employed by BNP Paribas and then Credit Suisse. And now? He works for Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong.
Separately, Morgan Stanley’s worst fears are coming true. Paul Taubman, the deeply charismatic, highly popular, ex-Morgan Stanley rainmaker who spent 30 years with the bank before quitting to open his own boutique in November 2012, has started poaching senior Morgan Stanley bankers in Europe. Johannes Groeller, co-head of Morgan Stanley EMEA, is leaving after 22 years to join Taubman, Reuters reports. Who will be next?
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