Today is a big day for change at the top of the technology tree at J.P. Morgan. Lori Beer, the former chief information officer of J.P. Morgan’s corporate and investment bank has been promoted to group CIO. We understand that the man replacing her is Michael Grimaldi, who moved across from Deutsche Bank late last month and will be based in the London office.
Grimaldi was only at Deutsche Bank for two years after joining from Goldman in 2014. He spent 21 years at GS, latterly as global head of securities division technology and investment research. Grimaldi quit Goldman for Deutsche as the quants and strats took over during the ascendance of Marty Chavez. A popular figure at Goldman, Grimaldi is said to have “flooded” the tech team with cake when he was made partner in 2011. Technologists at J.P. Morgan will be hoping he does much the same when he arrives there.
Meanwhile, Beer’s promotion was announced earlier today in an internal memo sent around the organisation by Jamie Dimon who described her as an “outstanding executive”. She is replacing Dana Deasy, who has held the CIO role since 2014 when he joined from BP and is retiring, but maintaining some responsibilities on the boards of J.P. Morgan’s fintech partnerships. With Beer’s promotion, J.P. Morgan’s operating committee is now 50% women.
J.P. Morgan has a huge technology team, with around 40,000 people in these functions globally. 10,000 of these work for its corporate and investment bank.
Suffice to say, Beer’s elevation is something of an anomaly within the banking technology world. Across all industries, women comprise just 9% of senior technology roles, according to the 2017 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO, but this figure is decidedly smaller at large U.S. banks. Catherine Bessant, chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America, is the other notable example at board level. She leads 95,000 employees across the divisions in more than 35 countries.
Beer’s new position is even more impressive when you consider that she started out working in technology in the 1980s. If you think gender stereotypes exist in the tech world exist now, try kicking off your career when A Flock of Seagulls were in the charts. Beer told us previously that for much of the early part of her career she was the only woman working on technology teams, and had to work doubly hard to get noticed.
“I spent years being the only woman on predominantly male technology teams, but the best thing you can do as a woman in technology is to stay focused on the value you can bring as an individual. Tech teams need diversity of perspective,” she said. Women shouldn’t try to be one of the guys, she said: “Often there’s a social and emotional aspect to the end product and I learned early on that this was something I was good at managing and so I made the most of those characteristics.”
Beer only joined J.P. Morgan three years ago, initially as head of banking technology, but was promoted to CIO of its investment bank in June last year when Mark Ashton-Rigby departed for Barclays. Before that, she spent a decade at insurance firm WellPoint. If her time at J.P. Morgan has seen her rise rapidly up the ranks, Beer said that she didn’t always make the best choices about her career.
“When I was younger, I moved around the country for different jobs, but I let the opportunities guide me rather than having a clear plan about where I wanted to be. Too often, people look at what’s in front of them without seeing the bigger picture, so I’d encourage longer term goals,” she said.
Beer will report into Daniel Pinto, head of the corporate and investment bank (CIB) and Gordon Smith, head of Chase.
“I’d like to thank Dana for his tireless service heading our Global Technology efforts and overseeing more than 40,000 technologists around the world,” said Dimon in his memo. “We have all benefited from significant improvements, efficiencies and innovation that Dana and his teams have delivered for the firm.”
Paul Bennie, managing director at headhunters Bennie MacLean, which hires senior technology staff into banks, said Beer’s promotion was a “slick piece of succession planning”.
“Having an internal candidate of Lori’s calibre will keep the J.P. Morgan juggernaut rolling in the right direction,” he said.