From the New York Times:

James B. Lee Jr., a pioneering deal maker and among the most influential Wall Street investment bankers of his era, died on Wednesday. He was 62.

Mr. Lee, a vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase, died of a heart attack after working out in his home in Darien, Conn., the bank said.

Mr. Lee, who was universally known as Jimmy, was the behind-the-scenes consigliere to the world’s top corporate chieftains, hatching mergers and public offerings for companies as diverse as General Motors, Facebook and Alibaba. He was a constant presence in the lives of moguls like Rupert Murdoch of the News Corporation and Jeffrey Immelt of General Electric.

He was a throwback, part of a different generation of bankers on Wall Street who were trusted advisers to corporate America based on deep relationships and insights, even as much of investment banking had become commoditized.

Mr. Lee was a colorful character who was known for calling clients at all hours and signing emails “your pal.” More important, behind the trappings of Wall Street culture was a keen intellect. He was an early pioneer of syndicated loans and became a powerful force in the world of leveraged buyouts and private equity, financing deals for Henry Kravis of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Stephen A. Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group and the late Theodore J. Forstmann of Fortsmann Little.

Famous on Wall Street for the lengths he would go to woo a client, he bought a Corvette ZR1 to demonstrate his dedication to G.M. during its initial public offering and had hoodies made for Facebook’s I.P.O. as a sartorial homage to its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. He also looked the part of a high-powered banker, with slicked-back hair, pinstriped suits and two-toned shirts with cuff links.

He also often played the role of backstage mediator among companies and activist investors, helping to end contentious battles between Carl C. Icahn and Dell, for example, and mentoring Daniel S. Loeb, the founder of Third Point.

Inside JPMorgan, Mr. Lee was the firm’s rainmaker and one of its longest-serving executives. He often used the firm’s enormous balance sheet to finance complicated transactions. He was also a close friend and adviser to the bank’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, whose office was just doors away from his. When the bank was under investigation by the Justice Department and Mr. Dimon was under pressure, Mr. Lee had Tom Brady, the quarterback of the New England Patriots, call Mr. Dimon to cheer him up and tell him to “hang in there.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Dimon called Mr. Lee “invaluable,” adding, “Jimmy was a master of his craft, but he was so much more — he was an incomparable force of nature.”

Mr. Lee was animated by the pursuit of the big deal, stoked by a competitive fire and a desire to be in the middle of the action.

In 2005, at a party honoring Mr. Lee, Mr. Dimon told a roomful of chief executives and buyout clients that “Jimmy Lee has probably lent a trillion dollars to the people in this room.” After pausing for effect, he added, “and almost all of it has been paid back.”

As word spread about Mr. Lee’s death on Wednesday, laudatory statements about him came pouring in from every corner.

“Jimmy loved Wall Street more than anyone I’ve ever known,” Mr. Loeb said. “He wasn’t driven by money or deals but by his passion for people. There was no more loyal friend to be had on Wall Street, nor anyone whose wise counsel I valued more. My last correspondence with Jimmy was a note from him titled ‘Bragging,’ where he told me about his son’s admission into a highly competitive securities analysis program at Columbia Business School. He signed off by telling me that despite his long and successful career, his ‘greatest accomplishment’ was his children” — his son, James, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Alexandra.

They survive him, as does his wife, also named Elizabeth.

James Bainbridge Lee Jr. was born on Oct. 30, 1952, in Danbury, Conn. His father ran the Frank H. Lee Hat Company and died of a heart attack when he was 47; Mr. Lee was 11 years old.

Mr. Lee talked about how his father’s death might have driven him to create special bonds and relationships.

“Jimmy was my closest friend in finance,” Mr. Schwarzman said. “It’s hard to explain. He always gave someone the sense — and it was true —that he cared desperately about you.”

Mr. Lee began his career with Chemical Bank in 1975 after graduating from Williams College. He played a key role in starting Chemical’s syndicated loan group in the 1980s, helping fuel a wave of buyouts, and built the investment banking business as the bank became a bigger player through mergers with Manufacturers Hanover and Chase Manhattan Bank. He climbed the ladder to run Chase’s investment banking business and eventually rose to become vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase after the 2000 merger that created the company.

He advised on some on the biggest deals, including United Airlines’ acquisition of Continental, General Electric’s sale of NBC Universal to Comcast and the News Corporation’s purchase of Dow Jones. He scrambled to help save the American International Group during the financial crisis and later helped underwrite its I.P.O.

He was fiercely loyal and considered leaving the firm only once. In his top desk drawer, he kept a copy of the term sheet to become the No. 2 at Blackstone. He most likely would have become a billionaire had he taken the job, because it was long before that firm went public. He would occasionally show it to friends, in part to demonstrate his loyalty to JPMorgan and his colleagues.

Mr. Schwarzman recounted how he had tried to recruit Mr. Lee away and nearly had a deal. “We had the press release ready,” Mr. Schwarzman said. Mr. Lee told him needed to speak with JPMorgan’s chief executive at the time, Bill Harrison. He called Mr. Schwarzman back and told him he couldn’t do it.

“I told him, ‘Don’t feel badly. You’re following your heart,’ ” Mr. Schwarzman said. “He had so much loyalty to the bank and the people there.”

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