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Here's How the Largest U.S. Banks Stack Up on CEO Succession

Wells Fargo & Co. made its future a little more apparent this week by promoting Timothy Sloan to chief operating officer and president, positioning him as the top candidate to succeed John Stumpf. The picture for other large U.S. banks isn’t as clear.

The six biggest banks haven’t experienced a change in chief executive officers in more than three years, and none of their current leaders has signaled that they intend to leave anytime soon. Still, succession planning is a never-ending process, and none of the firms has gone outside its ranks for the top job in the past decade.

Many of the largest European lenders, meanwhile, have seen turnover at the top: Deutsche Bank AG, Credit Suisse Group AG and Barclays Plc all replaced CEOs this year -- and all went outside their own management to do so.

Stumpf, 62, is just three years away from his company’s mandatory retirement age and promoting Sloan, 55, offers the potential of another decade of stability at the top of the most valuable U.S. bank. Here’s where other large firms stand in their plans for the future:

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

CEO Jamie Dimon, 59, has repeatedly said he’s five years away from retirement. Below him is a swath of executives that are seen as possible successors, in part because some of the presumed favorites have left in recent years. The leaders of each of the bank’s four major divisions -- Gordon Smith, 57, in consumer banking, Daniel Pinto, 52, at the investment bank, Doug Petno in commercial banking, and Mary Erdoes, 48, in asset management -- are all considered candidates, as well as Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake, 46, and COO Matt Zames, 45.

Bank of America Corp.

CEO Brian Moynihan, 56, has said he could lead Bank of America for the rest of his life. Should the lender’s board need to suddenly replace him, COO Thomas Montag, 58, is the obvious choice. Montag runs the firm’s institutional trading and banking divisions. Beyond that, a generation of younger business heads could eventually be candidates, including consumer banking co-head Dean Athanasia, 49, and Christian Meissner, 46, head of global corporate and investment banking.

Citigroup Inc.

Michael Corbat, 55, is the newest and youngest of the major bank CEOs, taking the role in late 2012, and said last month he feels he has a lot more work to do. Jamie Forese, 52, the firm’s president and head of its investment bank, is seen as the clear No. 2. Stephen Bird, 48, and Jane Fraser, 48, who were tapped earlier this year to run global consumer banking and the Latin America region, respectively, also are seen as future candidates.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

President and COO Gary Cohn, 55, has served as the No. 2 to Lloyd Blankfein, 61, for almost a decade and recently has substituted for Blankfein at some public appearances as the CEO undergoes chemotherapy for lymphoma. He’s far from the only candidate, particularly if Blankfein stays for a few more years. CFO Harvey Schwartz, 51; Vice Chairman Michael Sherwood, 50; David Solomon, 53, co-head of investment banking; and Pablo Salame, 49, who helps lead the trading division, are all seen as potential choices.

Morgan Stanley

CEO James Gorman, 57, has indicated he wants to stick around for the fruits of the turnaround he’s been spearheading over the past six years. The leaders of the firm’s investment bank and retail brokerage, Colm Kelleher, 58, and Greg Fleming, 52, respectively, are the most likely candidates if the CEO left in the near term. Gorman has been working to groom the firm’s next generation of leaders by moving some executives around the firm and promoting others. Ted Pick, 47, who leads the trading business, Dan Simkowitz, 50, who recently took over the asset-management business, and CFO Jon Pruzan, 47, are among that group.

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