One month ago, when JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) top executives gathered for their annual day of investor presentations, Mike Cavanagh came back from lunch, stood at the front of the room and joked that he wanted a better spot in next year's lineup.

"Next year we will try again to not have the afternoon slot," said Cavanagh, then the co-head of JPMorgan's corporate and investment bank, and one of the leading candidates to eventually succeed Chief Executive Jamie Dimon.

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