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New JPMorgan Latin America CEO seeks expansion

A woman walks past JP Morgan Chase's international headquarters on Park Avenue in New York July 13, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Burton
A woman walks past JP Morgan Chase's international headquarters on Park Avenue in New York July 13, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Burton

By Guillermo Parra-Bernal

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Martín Marrón, the JPMorgan Chase & Co banker tapped as chief executive officer for the Latin American unit, wants to expand throughout the region as demand for credit and financial advisory grows among companies and investors.

New York-based Marrón, a 20-year veteran at JPMorgan, succeeds Nicolás "Gucho" Aguzín, effective immediately, the bank said on Tuesday. Aguzín, who has headed the Latin American unit since 2005, will take over the lender's Asia Pacific business next year.

The appointments come as JPMorgan recasts responsibilities for some of its top investment and corporate banking executives after a move in July to combine two key business segments. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon has set growing outside the United States as one key priority for the bank, currently the largest lender in its home market.

Marrón told Reuters in a phone interview that his mission is continuing Aguzín's mandate of beefing up presence by broadening the bank's portfolio of products and services across the region. JPMorgan, which recently opened an office in Colombia, plans to do so in Perú - a country that has been posting high growth rates over the past decade.

"Fundamentals in the region are better than before, and they will keep improving," Marrón said. "The region is luring investment and also exporting capital - for us, it is a key region where we will continue to expand in terms of presence and products and also geographically."

In his new post, Marrón will continue to serve as head of Americas sales and trading for global emerging markets, a job he has held since 2007. Marrón was named co-senior country officer of Brazil in 2006.

Aguzín will relocate to Hong Kong by year-end, where he will manage the day-to-day business before transitioning to Asia Pacific CEO during 2013, succeeding Jeff Urwin. Urwin will focus on his existing role as JPMorgan's global head of investment banking.

"Adding another talented, hands-on executive to our senior ranks in Asia will ensure that we stay focused on the tremendous opportunities that exist in the region for our clients and our firm, and will help Jeff to allocate more time to his global banking responsibilities over the coming months," the bank said in a memo obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.

Aguzín, interviewed by phone along with Marrón, said his experience in Latin America will prove helpful in handling business in Asia.

During his seven-year tenure in Latin America, JPMorgan doubled capital and staff for its Brazilian unit, consolidating the offer of all products and services excluding retail banking. Aguzin, a 22-year veteran of JPMorgan, held senior positions across the bank, including in mergers and acquisitions and capital markets, before becoming CEO for Latin America.

"While they are vastly different cultures, there are similarities between Latin America and Asia, especially how the consumption boom and the emergence of new consumers is now reflected in all sectors," he said. "Just like in Latin America, we want to help our clients capitalize on this and increase our presence there."

Marrón will report to Daniel Pinto and Mike Cavanagh, the co-heads of JPMorgan's corporate and investment bank.

(Additional reporting by Asher Levine; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Alden Bentley and John Wallace)

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