CHICAGO - Bank One Corp. chairman and chief executive James Dimon, drawing on his former employer Citigroup a third time for executive talent, tapped former protege Charles W. Scharf as chief financial officer on Thursday, leaving one major hire to go as Mr. Dimon reshapes the company's top ranks.
Within the span of a few weeks Mr. Dimon has dipped into Citi's talent pool to fill some key spots at the nation's fifth-largest bank. In May Mr. Dimon hired William Campbell, former head of the global consumer business at Citi, to serve as a senior adviser in charge of technology and consumer strategy issues at Bank One. In the same month former Citi colleague Michael Cavanaugh joined the company as a senior vice president in charge of planning and strategy.
Mr. Dimon said that Mr. Scharf's hiring leaves just one critical opening, atop the company's capital markets division. In an interview, Mr. Dimon gave little indication when he might settle on a choice to replace F. Gerald Byrne, who left the company last month, saying such a hire could happen quickly or take a while.
With Mr. Scharf, 35, Mr. Dimon adds an executive he has worked with for 13 years, initially at one of Citi's many predecessor companies. At Citigroup, Mr. Scharf served as the chief financial officer at the company's global corporate and investment bank. Prior to the 1998 merger of Citicorp and the Travelers Group Inc., he held the same job at Smith Barney Inc.
As for any other executive moves, Mr. Dimon said he does not expect any, for now.
"At this point we're pretty much at a steady stay, which means there may be changes, but I'm not contemplating any more," he said. "But obviously if there's some great people who want to come join us, we'll talk with them."
Mr. Scharf succeeds Robert A. Rosholt, who retired as Bank One's CFO on May 1. In discussing his choice, Mr. Dimon said quality was key.
"I've worked with Charlie for 13 years," he said in an interview. "I know him well as a close personal friend. But more importantly, for Bank One, if you said 'Jamie go get one of the top financial CFOs in the U.S.,' he'd be on a very short list, and not just mine."
Mr. Scharf, who starts his new job June 12, said it should not present too many surprises.
"I think there will be clearly a lot of similarities, because I am CFO of Salomon Smith Barney and the corporate banking business of Citibank," he said. "I'm not involved today in the consumer businesses, but I've historically been involved in some of the consumer businesses the company has here."
Mr. Dimon said his original list of candidates for the CFO spot numbered between 10 and 15, which he said included "a couple of serious ones." Although it seems as though Mr. Dimon is surrounding himself with familiar faces, he said only a small portion of his senior management team comes from Citi.
"If you look at the people here in the senior jobs, two-thirds or three-quarters of them I haven't worked with in the past," he said. "Obviously, there's a sense of comfort [in hiring former colleagues], but most importantly I want to get spectacular people for the job."
Analysts who follow Bank One said the move to add Mr. Scharf will, at the very least, achieve unity.
"It's important for top management to be reading from the same page, and it seems this move facilitates that end," said Michael Mayo, an analyst with Credit Suisse First Boston. "Bank One needs additional financial discipline and controls, and certainly he would have the support and confidence of Jamie Dimon."
In January 1996 Mr. Scharf moved into the position of chief financial officer at Smith Barney, where he previously served as a planning and analysis manager. At the same time he was named executive vice president and reported to Mr. Dimon, who at the time was chairman and chief executive at the large brokerage firm.
For many of the last 13 years the two had worked alongside each other in some capacity.
In 1987 Mr. Scharf joined Commercial Credit Corp., a predecessor of Citigroup, where he was Mr. Dimon's assistant.