The New York Post is reporting that JPMorgan Chase (JPM) Chief Executive Jamie Dimon is being considered as a potential successor to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who endured a grilling last week before the U.S. Congress over his handling of the U.S. economy and ties to Wall Street.
Citing sources close to the situation, The Post said that “a number of policy makers have begun mentioning Dimon as a successor to Geithner, whose standing in Washington has suffered because of the country’s high unemployment rate, the weakness of the dollar, the slow pace of the recovery and the government’s mounting deficit.”
The most recent calls for Geithner’s head came last week, when he got into a heated exchange with members of the Joint Economic Committee over the handling of the economic crisis. Geithner was asked by Republican Rep. Kevin Brady if he’d consider resigning since the public had lost, according to Brady, all confidence in Geithner’s ability to do his job.
It’s unclear whether at this point President Obama would accept Geithner’s resignation. And of course, talk of a Geithner departure, never mind a Dimon appointment, may be a bit of stretch here. But, even if Obama accepts Geither’s resignation, it might be tough to convince Dimon — who has achieved rock star status for having navigated JPMorgan through the downturn and being a go-to guy when regulators last year needed Wall Street’s help — to give up his big salary at JPMorgan.
People familiar with Dimon’s thinking told the Post he “would love to serve his country” but that he believes Geithner is doing “a good job” and plans to stay at JPMorgan for another “six or seven years.”
Whether Dimon will take the job if offered ; remains to be seen. One thing is for certain, current Treasury Secretary’s hold on the position weakens by the hour. Furthermore, if economy’s anemic growth continues, somebody will have to take the fall between now and the mid-term elections. And Geithner seems the likely candidate. On the other hand, replacing Geithner would signal an administration in disarray.
The ball is in Obama’s court now.