How tough is the toughest profile of everybody’s favorite banker, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon? Let’s take a look at Bloomberg Markets‘ “Jamie Dimon’s Troubled World,” whose headline alone make it sound like far and away the hardest-hitting press treatment of the silver-haired leader — ever. Certainly such a work would be tougher than Duff McDonald’s Dimon bio Last Man Standing or New York‘s 2008 piece, “The Heist: How Jamie Dimon Resisted the Quick and Dirty Temptations of Wall Street and Put Himself in Perfect Position for the Deal, or Maybe Steal, of the Century.”
Reporter Dawn Kopecki’s take on Dimon, who has a Teflon quality that’s extremely rare among crisis-era CEOs, starts off with a grim picture of prospective losses stemming from JPMorgan Chase’s 2008 acquisition of failed thrift Washington Mutual. At the time, Dimon was being compared with J. Pierpont Morgan. “A lot has gone wrong for Dimon since those halcyon days,” says Kopecki.
But when we get to the character-development section, Dimon is the same as he ever was: A take-no-guff, Queens-bred leader with a soft touch when the times call for it.
Dimon doesn’t want to hear excuses for his executives’ failures. He has a sign in his office in big bold type that reads “No Whiners.”
The bold-faced sign in his office isn’t the only indication of Dimon’s “no quarter” management style. Speaking at a commencement ceremony, Dimon also told an ungrateful crowd at Syracuse University that he was proud of them for protesting his presence: “Have the fortitude to do the right thing. Don’t be somebody’s lap dog.” But Dimon also invites rising stars at the company to have some wine in his office after a hard day of trading.
Amid a series of looming problems that plague JPMorgan Chase — Dodd-Frank, legacy WaMu assets, obstacles to international expansion — we wonder along with Kopecki whether the WaMu purchase “was that rarest of events in his professional life: a bad deal.” Alternative headlines to this story: “Did Jamie Dimon Make His First Mistake Ever?”; “What Would the World Look Like if Jamie Dimon Were Wrong About Something?”
mtaylor [at] observer.com | @mbrookstaylor