James Lee ’75 — universisally known as “Jimmy” — got a brief mention in a New York Times article today on the soon-to-be completed merger of JP Morgan Chase and Bank One. Lee is one of the most senior and successful Ephs in finance and seems to play the roll of senior statesman, on occasion, at JP Morgan.

“The guy is a rock star,” said James B. Lee Jr., a vice chairman of J. P. Morgan Chase, as he recounted how Mr. Dimon helped land a big underwriting deal recently, even before the merger becomes official.

Lesson: It never hurts to say nice things about your new boss, especially when the New York Times is calling!

Their dinners finished, Mr. Dimon and Mr. Harrison stepped up to the lectern for a closing interview, conducted by Mr. Lee. “Tell us some personal things about yourselves, Jamie and Bill,” Mr. Lee said.

After a brief pause, Mr. Harrison talked about growing up in North Carolina, coming to New York, all the blind dates he went on before marrying at the age of 42 and how his daughters, 11 and 13, greet him when he arrives home in Greenwich, Conn: “Hey, Billy boy. How were things at the office?”

As the crowd roared with laughter, Mr. Dimon took his turn. He recalled the reaction of the eldest of his three daughters when he told her that he had been fired from Citigroup. “Can I have your cellphone now? I guess you won’t need it,” she said.

Lee is maried to Elizabeth (Brownell) Lee ’75 (or at least the alumni office has them as residing at the same address). As always, we are big fans of Eph marriages.

Given Lee’s success in finance, he becomes a candidate for the role of mystery donor for the new INSERT YOUR NAME HERE student center. Recall my guess that:

we want a very rich but not shy Williams grad from a not-wealthy family without a history of major gifts to the College, probably not a current trustee, perhaps approaching a major reunion.

Lee and his wife are coming up on their 30th reunion. Investment bankers like Lee are definately not known for their, uh, shyness. It is not clear if Lee is wealthly enough to be able to afford a $15 million donation. His compensation in 1999 (the last that I can find on Bloomberg News) was only $12 million. Then again, he seems to have received a $14 bonus for 2000.

More on Lee can be found here:

James B. Lee, Jr. is Vice Chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Chairman of the Investment Bank, North America. He is responsible for Morgan’s relationships with many of its most important investment banking clients and supervises many of their strategic transactions. He chairs the bank’s Commitment Committee, Conflicts Committee, Executive MBA Program, and its National Advisory Board. He is a member of the Executive Committee, the firm’s policy-making group. He also helped develop and run LeadershipMorganChase, the company’s leadership development initiative.

Mr. Lee joined Chemical in 1975 and held various assignments in specialist lending areas until 1980, when he established and ran Chemical’s merchant bank in Australia. In 1982 he started the bank’s loan syndications unit in New York, and went on to build and run Chemical’s and then Chase Manhattan’s investment banking business. He was named Vice Chairman of the firm in February, 1997.

He was named one of American Banker’s 1992 “Forty Top Bankers under Forty Years of Age.”

In another Williams connection, Lee makes a couple of appearances in Bethany McLean’s ’92 excellent Enron book, The Smartest Guys in the Room. Lee comes off quite well in a story with very few sympathetic characters. He both sensed early on that everything was not quite right at Enron and, mostly, avoided throwing good money after bad at the end.

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