Frank Bisignano smiled as he met actress Debra Messing last night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 150th Anniversary Gala.
“Are you from Brooklyn?” Bisignano, a native of the borough’s Mill Basin, asked. Yes, the “Smash” star said before posing for a photo. Bisignano’s wife, Tracy, a fifth-grade school teacher, hustled into the last frame.
Later, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s (JPM) chief administrative officer -- in charge of everything from technology to real estate to global security for businesses in 60 countries -- and chief executive of mortgage banking appeared on stage as emissary of Chase, the sponsor of BAM’s 150th anniversary year.
Bisignano, honorary corporate chairman of the gala, reminisced about the old neighborhood and noted that Chase has 1.2 million customers in the city.
At the mention of “Chase,” a small portion of the audience booed, and expressed their desire to get on with the show (three people had spoken, and there was still a video to come).
The mood lifted as soon as New Orleans master Dr. John processed down the aisle with a romping horn section in tow, with Bisignano and JPMorgan spokesman Joe Evangelisti rising from their seats and dancing with the rest of the audience.
It wasn’t the only highlight of his week. Today JPMorgan beat estimates with its first-quarter earnings, on gains from mortgage lending. Its 3.1 percent net-income drop was a smaller decline than analysts estimated. Bisignano has turned around the mortgage unit.
“Frank is the go-to manager at JPMorgan,” Dick Cashin, managing partner at One Equity Partners LLC, which is owned by JPMorgan Chase, said in an interview at an April 9 gala for Ballet Hispanico. “He’s the guy brought in to fix things. He’s the culture carrier of a bank managed not by bankers and traders but by businessmen and businesswomen.”
Cashin joined Bisignano at the gala, where JPMorgan was a lead sponsor. There, in the Plaza Hotel’s ballroom, Bisignano sat with Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. He didn’t join Cruz in his signature end-zone dance, with music provided by the Spanish Harlem Orchestra.
“He can dance to the two songs we danced to at our wedding,” his wife said. These were “You Can Make Me Free” by Billy Joel and “Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac.
As he demonstrated last night, he can also dance to funk.
Another bright spot in the week was an announcement that the 100,000 Jobs Mission, which is committed to hiring 100,000 veterans by 2020, has hired more than 12,000 veterans. Bisignano is a founding member of the coalition and JPMorgan Chase has made more than 4,000 of those hires.
“Long-term success,” Bisignano said in a statement, “requires that we put as much effort into assimilating, retaining and promoting veterans as we do on recruiting and hiring them.”
In the positive-economic-indicators department, two Fifth Avenue luxury boutiques threw parties last night.
At Salvatore Ferragamo, Beyonce’s sister, Solange Knowles, spun music to celebrate the store’s renovation. Women will shop on the ground floor, men on the second floor, in an environment incorporating white Venetian plaster, dark oak and stone.
“It’s amazing what renovation can do,” Massimo Ferragamo, chairman of Ferragamo USA Inc., said. “Things really stand out now and people can see better, touch better and, hopefully, buy better.”
One tempting item: a pair of red and gold shoes displayed in a glass case.
“They’re an inspiration from some of my father’s creations, which are in our museum in Florence,” Ferragamo said.
Meanwhile, Cartier opened an exhibition celebrating Aldo Cipullo, the house’s designer who made the Love bracelet in 1969 and the first nail bracelet in 1971.
Cartier may be “Parisian, French, 1847,” as Emmanuel Perrin, president and chief executive officer of Cartier North America, said. The exhibition, however, shows the influence of industrial New York on the house.
Turkish actress Bade Iscil was on hand. Beyonce, Jay-Z and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy attended the after-party downtown.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
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