BlueMountain Hires Top JPMorgan Executive

Jan 8 2013 | 1:39pm ET

Having harpooned JPMorgan Chase's "London whale" last year, BlueMountain Capital Management has opened this one by netting one of the bank's top executives.

James Staley was named a managing partner at BlueMountain, which has $12 billion in assets under management. BlueMountain was founded by former JPMorgan banker Andrew Feldstein in 2003.

Staley, who most recently was head of corporate and investment banking at JPMorgan, will serve on BlueMountain's management, risk and investment committees, and will take an ownership stake in the hedge fund.

"I'm very excited to be joining BlueMountain at a time when sea changes in the financial industry, combined with the firm's unique strengths, open up enormous possibilities to deliver value to clients," Staley said.

During his 34 years at JPMorgan, Staley, known as Jes, served as CEO of investment banking and as head of its asset-management business. In the latter role, which he held for eight years, Staley pushed for the acquisition of hedge fund Highbridge Capital Management, making JPMorgan the largest hedge fund manager in the world for several years; it remains among the biggest.

"Jes has been an extraordinary leader and a valued partner for many of us at JPMorgan over the years," Dimon said.

"While Jes is leaving JPMorgan Chase, he is joining a respected private investment firm, BlueMountain Capital," Dimon added. "BlueMountain is an important client of ours, and we look forward to working with Jes in the future."

Staley was at the investment bank's helm when trader Bruno Iksil's disastrous derivatives trades blew up. The bank lost billions—but BlueMountain, which took the other side of the credit-default swap index trades, made hundreds of millions. JPMorgan later turned to the hedge fund to help it unwind the trades.

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