The Cable

A Week After Retirement Ray Odierno Lands at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Ray Odierno has taken a job at JPMorgan Chase.


Less than a week after retiring as the 38th Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Ray Odierno has landed a job as senior advisor at JPMorgan Chase & Co., one of the largest banks in the United States.

Odierno, 60, will advise the board and Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, focusing on country risk analysis and security. He will also represent JPMorgan Chase — which had $1.7 trillion assets under management at the end of 2014 — with policymakers, government officials, and clients.

During his tenure as chief of the Army, Odierno, who graduated from West Point in 1976, navigated the drawdown of his force from a wartime high of 570,000 soldiers to the current 490,000. He also pushed for his soldiers to become more active in training and advising missions in Asia, as well as stepped up training and advising missions in Africa and the Middle East.

He was forced to scuttle several high-profile Army acquisition programs that didn’t fit in the tightening of post-war budgets, including a new infantry carrier and an armed scout helicopter — both programs that the service had long insisted were top priorities.  

But the event that will likely define him will be the 55 months he spent commanding troops in Iraq, first as the commander of the 4th Infantry Division in 2003-2004, then heading back in 2006 as deputy commander first to Gen. George Casey, and then Gen. David Petraeus.

Under Petraeus, Odierno was one of the key architects of the surge in 2007-2008 that is credited with helping (at least temporarily) break the back of al Qaeda in Iraq. Arguably his biggest single accomplishment was devising a strategy for successfully disrupting the “rat lines” that allowed militant groups to funnel money and fighters into Baghdad. That dramatically reduced, at least temporarily, the level of violence in the city.

He stuck around to take over the war from Petraeus, commanding the effort from 2008 through the end of 2010, where he drew down the combat mission.

He joins a host of other former Defense Department and government officials who have joined private firms to help deal with growing cyberthreats and other turmoil around the world. Petraeus, also a four-star general, who served as Central Intelligence chief, has been hired by KKR & Co. to help the firm make investment decisions. Patrick Carroll, who once headed cases of securities fraud and white-collar crime at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, now works for Goldman Sachs.

“Ray has dedicated his life to serving our country, rising to the top of the Army with proven leadership that delivers results,” Dimon said in the statement announcing the hire. He’ll “provide significant value to our leadership team, the firm and our clients across a wide range of issues.”

Photo credit: Saul Loeb/Getty Images

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

Paul McLeary is Foreign Policy’s senior reporter covering the U.S. Defense Department and national security issues. @paulmcleary

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