In the days leading up to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s bombshell announcement of $2.3 billion in trading losses, chairman and chief executive officer Jamie Dimon faced a delicate predicament. His executives had scheduled visits with banking analysts to discuss the state of affairs at JPMorgan—the company whose stock Mr. Dimon knew was sure to plummet when news of the trading losses were disclosed. These weren’t just any trading losses, of course; they were losses incurred on credit derivatives bets placed by a mysterious trader nicknamed the London Whale and Voldemort by the financial press. And it wasn’t just any bet—it was the same trading position that Mr. Dimon had described as “a complete tempest in a teapot” not one month previous.
“On the inside, Dimon must have been trying to figure out what was happening with the trade, and what to do about it,” said Frank Partnoy, a former Morgan Stanley investment banker, currently a law professor at the University of San Diego. “It’s like he has an inside personality, and an outside personality that he shows the world, and the two things must have been in conflict, like what politicians deal with when they’re handling a crisis.” Read More