BILL Winters, JP Morgan Chase&rsquo;s senior figure in European investment banking, has been sensationally ousted, after chief executive and chairman Jamie Dimon made it clear that he did not want the popular banker to succeed him.<br /><br />Winters, whose departure was announced yesterday, will be succeeded as co-chief executive of JP Morgan by the group&rsquo;s head of asset management Jes Staley, who now looks set to be groomed as Dimon&rsquo;s eventual replacement.<br /><br />He decided to leave after conversations with Dimon, who told him that he would not get the top job, well-placed sources told City A.M.<br /><br />Michael Holland, of New York-based Holland &amp; Co, said Winters had lost a &ldquo;two-horse race&rdquo; with Staley to succeed Dimon, adding that the bank may have felt that his background in trading meant he had too much of a risk profile.<br /><br />Peter Sorrentino of Huntington Funds said moves towards a succession plan were surprising, given that Staley is only marginally younger than Dimon.<br /><br />&ldquo;We weren&rsquo;t expecting an imminent change and we&rsquo;d like some clarification from management on why. Was it a personality issue perhaps? There&rsquo;s no obvious smoking gun as far as we can see.&rdquo;<br /><br />Dimon said yesterday that with the economic outlook improving, &ldquo;the timing was right to begin the succession process&rdquo;.<br /><br />Winters&rsquo; departure will see Steve Black, the US-based co-chief executive who has worked alongside Winters, become executive chairman, handing over to Staley at the end of 2010.<br /><br />Dimon heaped fulsome praise on Winters, who he said had &ldquo;helped steer the business through one of the most tumultuous periods in our history and emerge from it even stronger&rdquo;.<br /><br />But speculation was rife in the City yesterday that Winters had paid the price for comments made during a debate last week, when he pinned the blame for the financial crisis partly on &ldquo;greedy bankers, investors and borrowers&rdquo;.<br /><br />A source close to the bank said yesterday that Winters&rsquo; attack on bankers had nothing to do with his departure and pointed out that other JP Morgan Chase executives had made similar admissions of the industry&rsquo;s culpability.<br /><br />Friends of Winters said last night that they expected the popular banker to be &ldquo;snapped up&rdquo; within weeks by a rival firm.<br /><br />Winters headed a profitable investment banking arm, was behind the integration of Bear Stearns and was also the architect of the deal in which JP Morgan took a 50 per cent stake in City stockbroker Cazenove.<br />