Jimmy Lee (banker)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
James B. Lee Jr.
Born James Bainbridge Lee Jr.
(1952-10-30)October 30, 1952
Manhattan, New York
Died June 17, 2015(2015-06-17) (aged 62)
Darien, Connecticut
Residence Darien, Connecticut
Other names "Jimmy"
Alma mater Williams College
Canterbury School
Occupation Investment banking
Years active 1975 - 2015
Employer JPMorgan Chase
Chase Manhattan Bank (prior)
Chemical Bank (prior)

James Bainbridge Lee, Jr. (October 30, 1952 – June 17, 2015) was an American investment banker, notable for his role in the development of the leveraged finance markets in the U.S. in the 1980s. He is widely credited as the architect of the modern-day syndicated loan market.[1] At the time of his death, Lee was vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and a member of the bank’s executive committee. He was also Co-Chairman of JPMorgan's investment bank.

Early life[edit]

Lee was born on October 30, 1952 in Manhattan, New York City.[2] He was educated at the Canterbury School. He graduated from Williams College in 1975, where he received a bachelor of arts degree in Economics and Art History.


Lee joined Chemical Bank in 1975 and worked in a variety of lending businesses until 1980, when he founded and ran Chemical’s merchant bank in Australia. In 1982, he returned to the US and started the bank’s syndicated leverage finance group, which constituted the origins of the investment banking business at Chemical and later Chase Manhattan Bank. Lee ran the investment bank until the merger with J.P. Morgan & Co. in 2001.[1]

Following Chemical’s merger with Manufacturers Hanover in 1994, Lee founded the bank’s high yield (or junk bond) business, which was the bank's first public securities operation. At the same time, he built the bank’s financial sponsor coverage business focused on private equity firms as well as the bank's mergers and acquisitions business.[1]

By organizing high yield with loan syndications and private equity coverage, and the newly formed M&A group, this led to a variety of market innovations which Chase pioneered.[3] Lee also led the team that resulted in Chase acquiring Hambrecht & Quist which gave the bank its first public equity business and first dedicated technology investment banking practice.[4] He has remained active in the technology industry.

In 2000, Lee was effectively demoted in favor of Geoffrey Boisi[5] but within two years Biosi was out and Lee was again leading investment banking at JP Morgan.[6] By 2007, Lee was placed at the center of a New York Times illustration title "Masters of the New Universe" where he was connected with some of the largest leveraged buyout transactions of the past decade.[7]

Lee led the J.P. Morgan teams that executed the $25 billion Alibaba Group IPO, the largest IPO in history;[8] the $23 billion General Motors IPO, the second largest U.S. IPO;[9] and the $41 billion common stock sale of the U.S. Treasury’s ownership of AIG, resulting from the U.S. Government’s bailout of the company.[10] He also led the negotiations with the U.S. Treasury for the financial restructuring of Chrysler.[11] Most recently, Lee also advised Comcast on their announced acquisition of Time Warner Cable and planned divestitures of systems to Charter (pending),[12] the Dell Board of Directors Special Committee on the buyout of Dell by Michael Dell and Silver Lake,[11] GE on its $30 billion sale of NBC to Comcast,[12] United Airlines in its merger with Continental Airlines,[13] News Corporation on its purchase of Dow Jones,[11] was involved in the IPO of The Carlyle Group,[14] and co-led the IPOs of Facebook and Twitter.[12][15]

Lee was a member of Kappa Beta Phi.[16]

Lee had a personal net worth of $185 million in 2015.[17]


Lee died on June 17, 2015, unexpectedly after experiencing shortness of breath while exercising. He is survived by his wife Beth and three children.[18]


  1. ^ a b c The New York Public Library Honors James B. Lee, Jr., New York Public Library, June 26, 2008
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Robert Lenzner (April 17, 2000). "Meet The New Michael Milken". Forbes. 
  4. ^ Andy Serwer (February 7, 2000). "Chase Banks On Tech In buying Hambrecht & Quist". Fortune. 
  5. ^ Sidelined Banker Still Draws a Crowd. New York Times, December 10, 2000
  6. ^ J.P. Morgan Shakes Up A Key Unit. New York Times, May 24, 2002
  7. ^ Masters of the New Universe. New York Times, April 4, 2007
  8. ^ "Jimmy Lee, Key Banker for Media Deals, Dies Suddenly at 62". Variety. June 17, 2015. 
  9. ^ "James Lee, prominent JPMorgan investment banker, dies at 62". Chicago Tribune. June 17, 2015. 
  10. ^ "In Memoriam: James B. (Jimmy) Lee, Jr., 62". Chase Alumni Association. June 17, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b c Julia La Roche and Jonathan Marino (June 18, 2015). "Wall Street's titans mourn the loss of legendary rainmaker Jimmy Lee". Business Insider. 
  12. ^ a b c David Lieberman (June 17, 2015). "Jimmy Lee Dies Unexpectedly: Major Media Deal Banker Was 62". Deadline.com. 
  13. ^ Hugh Son, Amanda Gordon and Jennifer Surane (June 22, 2015). "Crowd of Titans Gathers for Wall Street 'Connector' Jimmy Lee". Bloomberg L.P. 
  14. ^ Olivia Oran and Greg Roumeliotis (April 25, 2012). "Carlyle ramps up IPO marketing with New York blitz". Reuters. 
  15. ^ Nadia Damouni (February 1, 2012). "JPMorgan wows Wall Street with Facebook IPO win". Reuters. 
  16. ^ Roose, Kevin (2014). Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street's Post-Crash Recruits. London, UK: John Murray (Publishers), An Hachette UK Company. p. 208. ISBN 978-1-47361-161-0. 
  17. ^ "James "Jimmy" Lee Jr. Net Worth". The Richest. Retrieved April 6, 2017. 
  18. ^ JPMorgan Vice Chairman Jimmy Lee Dead at 62. Bloomberg, June 17, 2015