CEO, J.P. Morgan Asset Management
Mary Callahan Erdoes is not as much of a household name as Warren Buffett or Jamie Dimon, but as J.P. Morgan Asset Management's chief executive, she has undeniable influence on Wall Street.
That was particularly evident earlier this year when Erdoes was among a who's who of leaders in business and finance — including Berkshire Hathaway's Buffett, General Electric's Jeff Immelt, General Motors' Mary Barra, and Dimon, her boss — to sign on to an open letter outlining a series of measures America's public companies could take to build prosperity.
Their recommendations included encouraging more diversity and independent thinking on boards of directors and, controversially, doing away with quarterly earnings guidance because of how it can get in the way of pursuing long-term goals.
"This all started with the heightened debate around short-termism, and short-termism really goes against the grain of what all Americans are looking for when they think about investing" for their retirement, Erdoes told Fox Business Network in July.
The group also is encouraging companies to appoint strong, independent directors who are not beholden to the CEO, Erdoes said.
Erdoes' influence stems from her success running the asset management unit of JPMorgan Chase. She has been its CEO for seven years, and in 2015 the unit reported its sixth consecutive year of record revenue, hitting $12.1 billion. Since the start of 2010, assets under management have increased an average of 6% a year, to $1.7 trillion at the end of 2015.
Reached by phone in Aspen, Colo. — the latest stop on an August cross-country trek she and her family were making in their RV — Erdoes reflected on another banner year that helped her retain the top ranking as the Most Powerful Woman in Finance yet again. The most important factor in the success of her business are the client relationships, she said, noting that about 260 clients have been working with the company for 75 years or more.
She also attributed her group's success to investments being made in talent and technology and to a "vigilant focus on investment performance." Last year, the staff completed more than 850,000 hours of training in a wide range of topics, including global financial markets and the economy, product innovation, cybersecurity and developments in regulation and compliance. On the tech side, her group's largest unit, global wealth management, is developing a digital strategy that will let clients engage with the company on demand, and via any method they choose.
Erdoes reports to Dimon and is widely rumored to be on the shortlist of his potential successors. She is one of three women on the company's operating committee and like the others — Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake and General Counsel Stacey Friedman — she has made advancing the careers of women a top priority. A few years ago Erdoes and Lake established a program called Women on the Move. This program, which sends female executives to meet with their colleagues in other countries, is designed to both inspire and encourage women throughout the global bank to "take charge of their own careers," she said. Erdoes noted with pride that 37 of the top 100 positions at JPMorgan Chase are held by women.
Alan Kline contributed to this story.