JP Morgan’s Ina Drew Runs Far Away From Shareholder Outrage

A former JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) executive hit the nail on the head when he said “in banking, there are very large knives.” In the fallout of the trading mess at its London office, which cost the bank $2 billion and counting, Chief Executive Jamie Dimon had to cut the firm’s ties with Ina Drew, chief investment officer and overseer of the London operations. Ina was the first to step up and take action. She decided to retire from JP Morgan today. Ina has served the firm for more than 30 years, most recently as the CIO. Matt Zames, currently co-head of Global Fixed Income in the Investment Bank and head of Capital Markets within the Mortgage Bank, will succeed Ina as the bank’s CIO and continue in his mortgage-related responsibilities.

Don’t Miss: 5 Early Buzzers: JPMorgan and Yahoo! Cleans House, NY Times Sinks 7%.

Drew has a very low profile outside of JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), but is highly respected within the firm and by ex-colleagues. She is reputed to have skillfully navigated the financial meltdown of 2008 and the massive trading loss is said to be her first major misstep. Even so, the disastrous trades were probably backed by the right intentions – she meant to bulwark the firm from the sovereign crisis in Europe, according to executives. Some believe she may be taking the fall unjustifiably — “The bank has taken bigger losses in investment banking and elsewhere, but because of the timing, she is being piled upon as this huge failure,” said a former senior executive.

Not afraid to take calculated risks, she was outspoken enough to reign in traders when she did not agree with their trades. “She’s a person of the highest integrity,” says Walter Shipley, the former chief executive of Chase Manhattan and before that, Chemical Bank. “She was conservative on the risk side, she’s not a speculator.”

She is also reputed to be a cheerleader for the fairer sex within the firm, encouraging women to step into the male-dominated world of trading.

Her resignation could be a loss for both JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) and Wall Street. Shares of JP Morgan ended the day down over 3% at $35.79 per share.

Investing Insights: Week Ahead on Wall Street: FOMC Minutes, Big Box Retailer Earnings.