No one would ever claim that JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon isn’t tough. Enduring the financial crisis, something only he and a handful of other investment banking CEOs were able to do, is evidence enough of that. He’s taken on his throat cancer diagnosis with similar grit and brutal honesty that mark him as one of the more unique figures in banking.
In his first in depth comments on the subject since the completion of his treatment, Dimon acknowledged that the news was “terrifying,” and he felt “worse and worse and worse, both emotionally and physically,” but never hinted at quitting, according to Bloomberg. In fact, Dimon didn’t let his treatment have much effect on his schedule, with CFO Marianne Lake saying he was “shockingly present” during the eight-week stretch.
“It hasn’t changed what I want to do with my life, yet,” Dimon said at a New York event. “Could it? It could. I still love what I do and I still have to do something.”
As for what’s next, that question likely won’t be answered anytime soon. People close to Dimon said he’d like to work another five years at least. But when that time does come, he’d consider teaching or working for a charitable organization. That and “a little bit of business,” obviously. He's even previously talked about opening up a Cheers-like bar on the Upper East Side, but said he'll never again run another company.
In the talk, titled “Reflections on Resilient Leadership,” Dimon also ventured into the subject of firing people, while taking a bit of a shot at the media.
“I never treat them rudely, even when there are quotes in the press that are complete lies,” he said. “Let them go on with their lives.”
Perhaps that’s one of the reasons he was the highest rated CEO on Wall Street last year, earning an 87% approval rating on Glassdoor, an amazing number considering the trouble JPMorgan was in at the time and the coup among some investors who wanted to see him stripped of his chairman role.
From all indications, Dimon is shrewd and calculating, like all good CEOs, but comes off as a bit more human than some of his other rivals. When talking about giving someone a promotion, he’ll often ask, “Would you want your child to work for that person?” He’s also known for extreme transparency and pushing for gender equality within the walls of the firm.
“I try to treat everyone fairly, from the mail room guy to the CEO,” he told Vanity Fair in 2012. “I’ve seen people, when they get into these bigger and bigger jobs, it goes to their heads.”
Barclays is laying off people within its investment bank, with what appears to be a particular focus on London.
Citigroup’s equities division continues to experience major changes, with several big names leaving the firm for the buy-side. The latest is Rory Hill, co-head of equity derivatives for EMEA, who has joined expansionary hedge fund Moore Capital.
Executives at JPMorgan were reportedly warned back in 2011 of the potential concerns related to the hiring of relatives of prominent businessmen in China in an effort to win business overseas. The bank internally discussed the program and made changes, but a probe was still launched by regulators last year.
Unnamed banks are cutting down even further on what employees can do to win business. Strip clubs were out years ago, but now some banks are banning bottle service, shots and even putting a curfew on how late employees can be out using their corporate card. But remember, just because a ban is in place doesn’t mean it will stop. Take a look at this analysis of taxi data. Most Hustler Club customers in New York City come from Wall Street.
Morgan Stanley is mulling selling its gas export business. Sources told the FT that senior commodities executives might use the news as an opportunity to leave Morgan Stanley, which has deemphasized in recent years.
One news agency is reporting that 11 banks have failed European stress tests. That’s not good. Three are reportedly from Italy and Greece, two from Austria and one each from Cyprus, Belgium and Portugal.
Lloyds Bank will reportedly announce as many as 9,000 job cuts next week as it becomes more automated.
Buzz Around the Office
A Chinese woman who broke up with her boyfriend spent an entire week in a KFC to help get over the loss. The restaurant didn’t notice until day four.
Quote of the Day: “It should have a positive impact on the bottom line. A sober staff member is less likely to make an error of judgment, whether in conversation with a client on a night out or on the trading floor the next day.” – a labor specialist on the booze ban