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JPMorgan Sets Americas Banking Team

NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) executives will dominate the ranks of investment banking in North and South America following its takeover of Bear Stearns Cos (BSC.N: Quote, Profile, Research), according to an internal memo obtained by Reuters.

With more half of nearly 14,000 Bear Stearns employees facing layoffs, JPMorgan is slowly setting up the leadership team for the combined investment banks. In the latest moves, announced internally on Thursday, just two out of 14 executives currently work for Bear.

JPMorgan is expected to complete its fire-sale takeover of Bear Stearns, which nearly collapsed in March, by June 1.

The fortunate two are Jeff Urwin, named head of investment banking coverage for the Americas in an earlier announcement, and Ben Berinstein, who along with Morgan's Chris Harvey will lead a business advising companies on capital structure.

“We have added world-class talent to our team, expanded our client roster and added new and important capabilities to our platform that will enable us to be even more relevant to clients,” said Doug Braunstein, the bank's head of Americas investment banking and origination.

Among those who reporting to Braunstein will be Jimmy Elliott, to be global head of M&A, and Nicolas “Gucho” Aguzin, head of investment banking in Latin America.

JPMorgan said Kevin Willsey will be head of equity underwriting for the Americas and jointly lead the global business with Viswas Raghavan. Therese Esperdy will be global head of debt underwriting as well as co-head of business in Europe, the Middle East in Africa with Raghavan.

Jeff Woods will be chief operating officer for Americas investment banking, while Kelly Coffey will serve as corporate derivatives marketing head.

e Morgan executive displaced by the merger is Chris Linneman, who along with Jim Casey and Andy O'Brien was a co-head of syndicated and leveraged finance. Under the new structure, Casey and O'Brien will continue those roles while Linneman seeks a new role at the bank.

Likewise David Topper, who will continue serving as vice chairman of equity capital markets, will explore other jobs at the bank.

By Joseph A. Giannone