The New York Times recently ran a story headlined, “Despite Legal Tempests, Dimon Appears Solid as Ever Atop JPMorgan.” The article explains that Dimon has almost complete support from his board, despite the “London Whale” trading fiasco and the recent deal JPMorgan made to pay the U.S. government $13 billion as a result of questionable mortgage practices.
HOW DOES HE DO IT? DESPITE BEING CRITICIZED BY REGULATORS, INVESTORS, AND THE MEDIA, JAMIE DIMON, THE CEO OF JPMORGAN CHASE, HAS JOB SECURITY.
Some of Dimon’s durability results from JPMorgan continuing to show a healthy bottom line. But some of it comes from Dimon’s ability to accept responsibility when the bank makes mistakes. The settlement for $13 billion was no doubt expensive, but by admitting the company’s role in fraudulent mortgage practices, Dimon was able to end several state and federal investigations that would have provided a drip, drip, drip of bad news for JPMorgan. And when Dimon does accept responsibility, he does it fulsomely. In the spring of 2012, after the London Whale trade became public, Dimon told reporters, “We operate in a risk business, and obviously it puts egg in our face, and we deserve any criticism we get, so feel free to give it us and we’ll probably agree with you.”
In the same NPR story, financial industry analyst Karen Shaw Petrou, sang Dimon’s praises for his frankness: “There is no securities law requirement that CEOs say what they really think, but Jamie Dimon to his credit tends to do that.”
That ability to tell the truth gives Dimon credibility and helps turn JPMorgan Chase’s mistakes into a few days of bad coverage, as opposed to a few months of bad coverage.