From Gary Olson (11/20/22): He was a great man, but I am getting old and was so impressed with the comments from all of us. I actually know and worked with and respected 95% of them. Nice to know some of us are still here.
From Brahm Nirgunarthy (10/23/22): My association with John spans the more than 25 years I worked at Chase and also at American Express, where I worked in the Personal Financial Services group. I always found him to be a very dynamic and energetic executive. May his soul Rest In Peace.
From Heinz and Frigga Rahlves (10/23/22): With great sadness we heard about the death of John. He was was my functional boss in global trade finance in the late 1970s and the European credit center in the early 1980s.
John and I had a long, professional and good relationship. We both left the Chase Group in the late 1980s.
Our last meeting with John was during the fall 2013 CAA event in NYC, since we did not made it back into town, since our son moved from New York to California in 2014.
We will keep him in our hearts and memory , as “part of the good old times” at Chase. John – rest in peace.
From Bill Kaufmann (10/17/22): Very sad – a great guy, an exceptional executive – talented, thoughtful and fun...thanks, John....Bill
From Ed Baum (10/16/22): So many of us remember John as a unique and unstoppable force. In the early 1990s, we had the pleasure of working together when John took the reins of Personal Financial Services, Chase’s nationwide jumbo mortgage business. It marked a major change of roles for John — from running the credit risk function for Art Ryan’s Individual Bank to heading up a business (He had clients! He had his own P&L!). He took to the new challenge with an energy, flair and drive that rode PFS to new heights of success. He questioned practices, pushed for change and made us all better along the way.
And of course John made sure that we laughed a lot together, too. As serious, thoughtful and smart as he was, John had a mischievous, playful side that made for a brand of leadership that was engaging and unforgettable. We were lucky to call him our boss and our friend.
From Gene Marshall (10/152/22):
My most sincere condolences to John's family. So sad. May his soul be at peace forever!
From Bob Mathews (10/11/22): John Ward had a magnetism and an enthusiasm for life one could sense from the first day one met him. We were all young when I first met John and Denise working in Chase Tokyo in 1975, which was a great adventure. I was fortunate to get to know them better working for him in the early 1980s in London, which provided an opportunity to appreciate his understanding and insight into Europe, international banking and human nature. Thereafter we stayed in touch as friends, and I followed the evolution of his long career as he made the transition back into the U.S. markets and eventually to a position at American Express where his unique and broad experience and relationships were invaluable. Thereafter, he asked the right questions to deal with decision making at various Board meetings. Throughout his career, he was a leader by example and a person who exerted a powerful influence over a wide array of associates and loyal friends. The outpouring of remembrances by Chase Alumni articulate his many admirable personal qualities and are a testament to the positive impact of his life on others. We were lucky to have him as long as we did. Goodbye old friend. You will be missed.
My sympathies to Denise, Andrew and Allison.
From Joe Salsberry (10/10/22): A very, very good friend, always! Known since the Trade days. Made fun of him for quoting Gore Vidal, but he was always ALWAYS there for me. Always ALWAYS returned my phone calls. Great leader, loyal, a friend. Many, many good memories.
Peace to Denise, Allison, and Andrew.
From John Sellers (10/10/22): John was a fine example of banking when it was an honorable profession. RIP.
From Jim Adamson (10/10/22): As Stephen Mueller recalls, the Tony T credit class of 1969 brought together people whose friendship lasted a lifetime. I was very surprised and saddened by the recent announcement that John's lifetime had recently ended, but our friendship will last forever. After completing our credit training and departing to the world of corporate finance, our paths crossed many times, first in New York and then in London and Tokyo and then again in London and New York.
Each time carries a particular story with it, but my favorite memory of John was while he ran the Tokyo branch.
He talked me into passing by Tokyo on my way to Australia to meet with some of his petroleum clients, none of whom needed any financing and in fact didn't trust banks, particularly American ones. Despite that, we had two or three pleasant lunches, drank a lot of sake and bowed a lot. I had to catch a flight to make my appointment in Perth but, as the weekend was imminent, John suggested that he, I and Denise should spend the weekend in Osaka at a ryokan David R had recommended to him.
On arrival we were met by a mama-san who relieved us of our western outer garments and issued us each a kimonos. We were then shown to a two-story wooden structure in the garden and told this was to be our "family home". The ground floor was the sitting room and the bedrooms were on the second floor, full of cushions and floor mats. The toilet facilities were in a separate structure attached to the back of the bedroom and consisted of a "squat" toilet over a 30 cms pipe that ran down the side of the building to a pit below.– very authentic Japanese, but the aerodynamics of the situation were such that the updraft through the pipe was stronger than gravitation force downward, resulting in one's kimono billowing up above one's head and making it virtually impossible to urinate.
John and I then went looking for the bath house but were told all "families" had to bathe together. At that point Denise objected so we never did get to experience a traditional Japanese bath house.
This was only one of the many adventures I had with John, the latest being here in Portugal in 2016 when Wolfgang brought the Chase group here for a visit.
Goodbye John. It was great knowing you - we'll see you on the other side.
From Eric Hasselman (10/9/22): John A. Ward III (aka JAWS) and I started work at Chase 50 years ago and were personally and professionally close all that time. After 30+ years at Chase, we both joined American Express International Bank, where he was CEO and I was Chief Credit Officer and his de facto deputy. John eventually brought some 70 officers and staff from Chase to American Express Bank, so it was a little like old home week.
John had so many fine qualities, not the least of which was his iron-clad adherence to honesty and integrity in management and policy matters. There were some questions he always needed answers to when considering a transaction: Does this deal make credit sense and comply with Chase standards? Does the deal meet Chase's moral code, and will the deal harm the client, its employees or local communities?
After working in Chase's International Division, John joined the Community Retail Banking division. He was CEO of several very large subsidiaries (jumbo mortgages, credit cards, domestic small business and middle market lending). At American Express, he covered all lines of business which were 100% international. Despite the complexity of it all, he maintained his great sense of humor and adventure. Many of you have heard stories of his adventures, yet he always maintained his very high standards. He was sincerely respected and admired for his business and financial genius. He could turn marginal transactions into great transactions with his mentorship and personal advice to individual officers and lines of business.
I will always be close to John and will respect and miss him forever.
Libby and I extend our deepest condolences to Denise, Alison, Andrew and their families.
From Debra Decker (10/8/22): I am grateful to John for introducing me to Chase Bank in London. I had recently graduated from Wharton with an MBA, and he was in the Wharton alumni directory for London. I was following my husband to England and looking for a new job. John kindly arranged a meeting for me with what was at the time the Europe and Middle East office in London and I ended up working on strategic planning at Chase for Yoram Kinberg. I learned much from John, Yoram and Bob Hunter, who ended up heading the office as it reorganized. Europe had a great group of leaders in a challenging time, and I don’t think I ever thanked him (or them) for support in my early career. Sending cosmic thanks!
From Ottho Heldring (10/6/22): My first memory John was in the early 1980s when he was with Chase in London. From 1998 to 2001, I knew him when we were both at American Express Bank (he as CEO). I spent many years with him on the board of the Chase Alumni Assciation (he as President, I as Treasurer). I quite admired his dedication and enthusiasm. He was a natural leader, very sociable and fun. He leaves a big void. I'll miss him.
From Stephen Mueller (10/5/22): I doubt anyone who met John could forget him. We first met as 1968 Summer interns after first year MBA and subsequently in the infamous 1969 Chase first all-MBA Special Development Global Credit Program. After several months (of an 18-month program) in classroom training, I recall John, Chet Brauch, Jim Adamson and perhaps others declaring "enough training - we want to go straight to the pit referrals” and finish the program. I believe they all passed. We spent many lunches always debating issues – rarely agreeing – but remaining friends. As a devout capitalist he was wary of my UC Berkeley roots. Later our paths crossed in Tokyo, where John was determined to add discipline to global Japanese Trading Company credit exposure management. Always with an eye on strategy as well as tactics, he succeeded. He studied Japanese character and management style and happily shared insights that proved valuable to me in my West Coast outpost with growing Asian presence. Years later in the early 1980s, we caught up again on my re-visit to London, where we shared a delightful lively dinner conversation, with Denise and John the gracious hosts. Social media kept us in contact with lively bouncing barbs and humor over the last few years. So glad for the 55- year relationship. My heartfelt condolences go out to Denise, children and families.
From Cyrus K. Hui (10/5/22): We had known John and Denise since our Tokyo days 1974-79, close as part of "Chase Family", then in London, having kept up through all these years when visiting New York. John will always be remembered as kind, generous and lots of fun.
From John Oakes (10/5/22): So sorry to hear that John has died. In the early part of our careers, we were in the Credit Department together, and we were team leaders in Chase Tokyo. Later, we both were Division Executives in the Trade & Export Finance group.
Our families spent happy times together in Tokyo, often along with Frank Osborne and Cyrus and Shirley Hui. One quick story: Attempting to bridge the culture gap in Japan, John would often spell out his last name to new Japanese customers. He would say: "It's Ward; W-A-R-D, as in dog." And on more than a few occasions, the new customer would say: "Glad to meet you, Mister Wardog."
Our career paths diverged, but we stayed in touch occasionally. John was among the smartest people I knew in life. He was a principled man with a finely developed sense of right and wrong. He had, as many others have said, a wonderful sense of humor. And he was a fine human.
Wishing comfort to Denise, his children and extended family.
Rest easy, my friend.
From Art Ryan (10/5/22): It is with tremendous sorrow that I write this memorial. John was a wonderful person with the perfect blend of serious intellect and a great sense of humor. He will be missed.
From Paul Simpson (10/5/22): John was an extraordinary person and he made us all better. He had many gifts. He had a way of finding time for any of his friends or colleagues, no matter how busy he was. He had the highest integrity; he never sacrificed his values to be part of a compromise he did not believe was the right thing to do. He always gave it to us straight, and he had a way of doing that without being offensive or hurting anyone’s feelings. If he was discussing a matter with someone who disagreed with him, he would ask: “Could you give me an example.” I never saw John lose an argument following that opening. He still had his sense of humor during phone calls we had just a couple of months ago. He had a very big heart and a great sense of humor. He was an outstanding leader and business partner for the people to whom he reported. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to work with him and to be his friend. I will miss him very much.
From last fall's tribute to mentors, sent by an anonymous former employee:
From Bill Coulter (10/4/22): John and I were born just days apart and I was most fortunate to have John as a friend and a mentor during our time together at Chase.
Our friendship began in 1973 when we first met at Chase. Shortly thereafter, John and Denise moved to Tokyo and Cheryl and I moved to London. We reconnected a few years later when Cheryl and I moved to Hong Kong and I visited Tokyo. Little did I know at the time that two years later Cheryl and I would return to London when John hired me, along with David Banks, to establish and mange the UK Export Finance Division. John was a great person to work for, as he gave me all the support I needed to staff my team and to navigate the matrix management complexities within Chase.
More recently, when we both retired, I continued to enjoy John’s company in Florida, Spring Lake and Manhattan. Our last meeting was a delightful lunch in Florida that Cheryl and I shared with John and Denise.