James Lee, a top JPMorgan dealmaker, is dead
James Lee, one of JPMorgan Chase’s highest ranking executives and one of the Wall Street’s most prolific dealmakers, passed away on Wednesday morning. The bank confirmed his death with a brief statement from its CEO, Jamie Dimon. “We love you Jimmy,” Dimon said in the statement.
Dimon called Lee, who was known as Jimmy, a beloved friend and colleague. JPMorgan gave no detail on Lee’s death, only calling it unexpected. Fortune has learned from other sources that he had a heart attack. Lee was 62.
Lee had been one of the longest lasting and most successful forces on Wall Street. He got his start at Chemical Bank in 1975, surviving numerous mergers and eventually rising to head of investment banking at JPMorgan Chase. He was the consummate dealmaker, working and excelling in many areas of Wall Street, including high yield bonds and mergers and acquisitions. He had a nose for business, and always knew where to go for deals. He has been credited with creating Wall Street’s syndicated loan business. In 2009, TheStreet.com called Lee “JPMorgan’s trillion dollar man.”
Last year, Lee led the JPMorgan team that underwrote Alibaba’s $25 billion public offering, the largest IPO ever. He also was a lead banker on GM’s recent $23 billion re-IPO. He was also seen as a confidant of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. Lee once said the best piece of advice he ever got was from Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, who told him the key was to be comfortable in your own skin.
On Wednesday, Dimon called Lee a “master of his craft,” and said that he had made an “indelible and invaluable contribution” to JPMorgan and Wall Street as a whole. “He was an incomparable force of nature,” Dimon said. “He will be sorely missed.”