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JP Morgan Names New FX Chief as Puth Steps Down

Blythe Masters is taking over from David Puth as global head of currencies and commodities at JP Morgan, a spokesperson tells Squawkbox. The move follows Puth’s decision to step down at the end of the year to pursue other interests.

Ranking among Wall Street’s most powerful female executives, Masters joined the bank in 1991 as a commodities trader and held various senior management positions before becoming CFO, including head of credit derivatives marketing and head of credit policy, strategy and portfolio management. She is also a member of the investment bank management committee.

Based in New York, she will report to Bill Winters and Steve Black, the co-chief executives of investment banking. The spokesperson says the bank has not yet announced a new CFO.

Puth is also responsible for the emerging markets business, which the bank is now separating from currencies and commodities to run as a stand alone unit.

Daniel Pinto, the global head of emerging markets who had been reporting to Puth for the last year, will now report to Winters and Black. He will also join the investment bank management committee.

Puth’s departure has come as a surprise to some in the industry, although it ends a year of change in the bank, which re-organised its business along global product lines in January. This included the appointment of Robert Lichten as global head of FX trading and sales in May.

A veteran of the bank, Puth joined Manufacturers Hanover Trust in 1988 to manage its FX team before it merged with Chemical Bank four years later. He has also survived two other major bank mergers – Chemical Bank merging with Chase Manhattan Bank in 1996 and Chase merging with JP Morgan in 2000 – and moved up the ranks along the way.

He began his career in 1980 on the trading desk at the former New England Merchants Bank in Boston before moving to New York in 1984 to work at Citibank. In 2001, he was appointed chair of the New York Foreign Exchange Committee, an industry organisation he had been invoved with since 1989.

Separately, market sources say Bill Arnold, the long-time head of JP Morgan’s FX emerging markets desk and most recently head of its prop desk has retired. Arnold has, over the years, held a number of positions at the bank including head of exotic currencies and chief foreign exchange dealer.

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