In a move that generated few surprises and reassured market observers, J.P. Morgan & Co. named Douglas A. Warner 3d to replace Dennis Weatherstone as chairman and chief executive on Jan. 1.
Mr. Warner, 48, will become Morgan's youngest chairman ever.
Analysts and senior Morgan executives said Mr. Warner will probably maintain the emphasis on capital markets put in place 10 years ago. They also predicted that he will move to consolidate businesses developed over the last decade and tighten management controls.
"He has a reputation for being a tough manager, and a big bank like Morgan needs a tough manager," remarked Raphael Soifer, a banking analyst with Brown Brothers Harriman in New York.
Since the early '80s, Morgan, the nation's fourth-largest bank with $128 billion in assets, has swung sharply away from traditional corporate finance and lending and toward underwriting, distributing, and trading securities.
Analysts and executives noted that Mr. Warner has focused on administration and management over the past five years. They said that although he knows Morgan inside out, his skills as a marketer are yet to be determined.
"For the past five years Sandy Warner and I have worked together on every aspect of Morgan's business," Mr. Weatherstone said in a statement Thursday. "Sandy is a strong leader who knows what it takes to excel in global finance and meet the changing needs of clients around the world."
Morgan also said that Michael E. Patterson, executive vice president, general counsel, and son of former Morgan chairman Elmor Patterson, has been named to the new post of chief administrative officer. He will be succeeded as general counsel by Edward J. Kelly 3d, a partner in the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell.
Morgan executives and analysts predicted that the bank's three current vice chairmen, Kurt Viermetz, Rodney Wagner, and Roberto Mendoza will remain in their current positions.
Mr. Weatherstone, who turns 65 next November, was not expected to retire until next year. Analysts as well as Morgan executives said they were not surprised by Mr. Warner's nomination but did acknowledge that the timing was earlier than expected.
"It shows they're trying to get an orderly management succession in place and move on to other issues," said Robert Albertson, a banking analyst with Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Mr. Warner, best known at Morgan as "Sandy" after his middle name, Alexander, retains his position as president, leaving no immediate opening for other senior executive changes at the bank.
Born in Cincinnati, Mr. Warner has spent his entire career at Morgan since graduating from Yale in 1968. He became president of the bank in January 1990.
He has extensive experience in U.S. and international corporate finance, receiving a posting to London in 1983. He became general manager of the London office and Morgan's senior executive in the United Kingdom in 1986.
In 1987 he returned to New York to take charge of North and South American corporate finance and, later that year, of the entire group worldwide.
Mr. Weatherstone has been chairman and chief executive of J.P. Morgan since Jan. 1, 1990, and a member of the company's senior management and board of directors since 1979.
He joined Guaranty Trust Co., which later merged with J.P. Morgan, in 1946 in his native London. He was a foreign exchange trader early in his career before moving into management, rising to deputy general manager of Morgan's London office. He moved to the firm's New York headquarters in 1971. In 1980 he became chairman of Morgan's executive committee and was named president in 1987.