Just as Walter V. Shipley and Thomas G. Labrecque helped usher in the era of megamergers, they are also pioneering a new model for bank management.

The two say they run Chase as "co-equal partners," though Mr. Shipley retains the titles of chairman and chief executive officer and Mr. Labrecque remains president and chief operating officer. They make all major decisions together and jointly accept responsibility.

"We stress so much internally teamwork and partnership," Mr. Shipley said. "We ask other senior executives to look to us for the model we would like to see replicated throughout the company."

Mr. Labrecque added that the arrangement, once doubted by many outsiders, has helped in the emergence of the "new" Chase. "No one wanted to believe that it was going to happen," he said. "We have been doing it ever since."

Other banks are clearly studying the partnership closely. The proposed Citigroup would go a step further, with full-fledged co-CEOs.

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