JPMorgan Campaign to Place Bear Castaways

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JPMorgan Chase is conducting an outplacement effort on an unprecedented scale, as its chief executive and an in-house team reportedly approach hundreds of companies about hiring some 5,000 Bear Stearns workers who will become casualties of the banks' pending combination.

The campaign could become a template for how both JPMorgan and the rest of Wall Street will manage the impact of future major mergers and layoffs, the Financial Times reports in a pair of related stories. In particular, JPMorgan might have to repeat the exercise if expectations that it will soon acquire a regional bank come to fruition.

"By asking more than 1,800 companies and scores of headhunters to provide them with the list of vacancies, JPMorgan executives hope to be able to find jobs for at least 2,500 of the 5,000 redundant Bear employees," the FT says.

The company is spending million of dollars on the effort, the story says. The bank's potential payoff resides in salvaging JPMorgan's reputation amid criticism of the layoffs, stopping ex-Bear employees from bad-mouthing the company, and reducing the total tab for severance payments.

The campaign even has a name: the Talent Network, according to the FT. Apart from its scale, the other notable feature is the visible personal involvement of Chief Executive Jamie Dimon. He has reportedly sent letters to more than 30 clients, rivals and vendors on behalf of displaced Bear Stearns employees, and is expected to appeal to about 100 companies in all.

JPMorgan has already compiled a database of some 3,000 vacancies at other companies, according to the FT story. The project is led by Frank Bisignano, the bank's chief administration officer. Another key figure is Maureen Osborne, who reportedly has day-to-day responsibility for the Talent Network.

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