122 Minutes With Jamie Dimon
The JPMorgan Chase CEO is really, really, really sorry. Except when he’s not.
Even here, on his own turf, they are giving Jamie Dimon a hard time.
“Um, yeah, my question is kind of broad?” begins a gawky guy who identifies himself as a Tufts student interning in Client Solutions. “Earlier this summer we had the LIBOR scandal that was involved with a lot of the big banks and led to the resignation of the CEO from Barclays. More recently we had Sandy Weill saying the banks needed to be broken up. With the banks so big, how is it possible to monitor every aspect?”
Next up is a scruffy-haired kid from the University of Miami: “With banking in a secular or cyclical decline, do you truly believe that this is a good place for us to start our careers, considering all of the other opportunities available to us?” he asks.
“In an industry associated with surprisingly low standards … ” a woman from Emory University starts to say.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” the JPMorgan Chase CEO interrupts, leaning into the microphone and peering out at the several hundred summer interns, sweating in their first business clothes, that have gathered in the auditorium of the former Bear Stearns building for a friendly Q&A session with the boss. “Before you go to the next level of generalizing, saying, ‘all bankers,’ ‘all banks.’ I don’t like that.” The room murmurs its assent as Dimon, pacing onstage in his summer uniform of a suit and no tie, warms to his topic. “I don’t buy this thing that our industry is responsible for all the ills of the world. We have great people at JPMorgan Chase. We operate with a lot of rigor. Our clients are happy with us. Sure, we make mistakes, like we have got this Whale thing. Businesses make mistakes. So we’ve got to clean them up, learn from them, and get better. And I want you to know the London Whale issue is dead,” he says. “The Whale has been harpooned. Dessicated. Cremated.” His voice carries over the students’ laughter. “I am going to bury its ashes all over.”