How Jamie Dimon Got To Be The Most Admired Banker In The World

jamie dimon

Photo: AP Photo

Yesterday, Wall Street was rocked by the news that industry powerhouse JP Morgan faces a $2 billion loss in its Chief Investment Office.Perhaps you think that after the financial crisis of 2008 we should be used to seeing massive bank losses, but with JP Morgan that’s not so. The bank was known for being the most responsible institution on the Street, and the man at its helm, CEO Jamie Dimon, was recognised as a man who simply didn’t lose.

Now all of that has been thrown into question. Regulators will pounce on this loss to argue for more regulation, and Dimon’s vocal opposition to more rules will be fodder for critics from New York to Washington.

That said, we recognise that this is a dark spot in Dimon’s otherwise illustrious career and life, so we’ve put it together for you. It’s quite impressive.

Once you see where he’s been, perhaps you’ll have no doubt that Dimon will be back on top soon enough — it just may take some time.

*Some text and photos by Katya Wachtel

Dimon, a twin, was born with finance in his blood and grew up on Long Island in a modest family home

In 1956, Mrs. Themis Dimon gave birth to twin boys Jamie and Ted Jr. They already had an older brother.

Dimon's dad was a stockbroker. And his grandfather, a Greek immigrant, also worked in finance.

Source: Last Man Standing

The modest life didn't last long: the family moved from Queens to the Upper East Side on Park Avenue

Dimon went to public school in Queens until he was in the fifth grade, then his family decamped to Manhattan.

Source: Last Man Standing

Once he arrived on the Upper East Side, the athlete and ladies' man attended Browning: a private, all boys high school

At Browning Dimon played varsity soccer, basketball and baseball. Apparently his nickname was 'Mad Dog.' Amazing.

Dimon was also a bit of a ladies' man. 'In senior year, he majored in his girlfriend,' a pal said.

Souce: Last Man Standing

He was rejected by Brown but scored a place at Tufts, where he wrote a thesis that got him in the door with Sandy Weill

Dimon graduated summa cum laude from Tufts with majors in psychology and economics.

He used a thesis he wrote about a business deal involving his father and Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill (who knew Dimon's family socially) to land a summer gig at Weill's Hayden Stone. Weill then became Dimon's mentor.

Source: Last Man Standing.

Dimon was in the same MBA class as GE's Jeff Immelt, plus hedge fund managers Seth Klarman and Steven Mandel, and another special person: his future wife, Judy.

Immelt once said: 'Judy was by far the best-looking, sexiest, and smartest girl in the class, and Jamie got to her first.' They now have three beautiful daughters together.

He graduated as a Baker Scholar -- which is the top academic honour at Harvard Business School, given only to the top 5% of the graduating MBA class.

Source: Last Man Standing

Dimon was so in-demand after Harvard he turned down offers from Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers. He landed at American Express.

Dimon joined Sandy Weill at Amex after turning down other amazing offers. Weill became Dimon's mentor.

Together, Weill and Dimon took over Citicorp.

Dimon got fired from Citi by Weill, but got the job of CEO of Bank One in 2000.

Why did Weill fire Dimon? rumours were that the straw that broke the camel's back was tension with Weill's daughter, who worked for the company.

Dimon was made CEO of Bank One two years later, and doubled the value of the company within four years.

Fortune called him 'The Toughest Guy On Wall Street.'

Source: NY Mag

Jamie and his family lived in a beautiful multi-million dollar mansion in Chicago when he was in charge of Bank One

The 15,000-sq-ft mansion has eight bedrooms, nine full bathrooms and was built in 1870.

It also has an exercise room, two kitchens and 900-sq-ft rooftop terrace.

He sold it for $6.95 million.

Dimon then convinced JP Morgan's CEO to buy Bank One, and one year after the merger, Dimon became CEO of JP Morgan

When JP Morgan bought Bank One for $58 billion, Dimon was made President and COO.

He became CEO one year later, and it was back to NYC.

He steered JP Morgan through the financial crisis with serious cool, picking up two banks along the way

With less dodgy mortgage-related products on its books than the other banks on Wall Street, under Dimon, JP Morgan emerged from the crisis better than any other bank.

Dimon picked up Bear Stearns for $260 million in a firesale -- called 'the best deal ever' as Bear was once worth $11.7 billion. Plus, JP Morgan acquired WaMu for $1.9 billion, making it the country's biggest bank.

In the wake of the crisis, Dimon became Obama's banker BFF for a while, sending him to national prominence and now his name is mentioned as possible treasury secretary

Dimon's name was floated as a potential successor to Tim Geithner as Treasury Secretary in 2008, and since then, with rumours swirling that Geithner is set to leave when the debt crisis gets solved, Dimon's name has popped up again.

JD's alleged love affair with Obama was also well publicized.

He was played by silver-fox Bill Pullman in the HBO version of Too Big To Fail

Not a bad on-screen presence. In fact, quite a compliment. Actually, Dimon gets compliments on his looks quite frequently (which is funny, as Dimon apparently never gives compliments to anyone.)

Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair's CEO, put it like so: 'JPMorgan Chase C.E.O. Jamie Dimon is tall. He's fit. For a banker, he's nice-looking. And he's got that head of fluffy white, unbankerish hair. You could argue that Dimon's single greatest asset is that he doesn't look like Dick Fuld.'

And he was loved by Politicos from New York to London

While other banks were flailing in 2011, Dimon led JP Morgan through a great year.

Dimon's bank recorded a solid 'beat' in Q2 '11, with revenue of $26.7 billion, ahead of estimates of $24.91 billion.

Meanwhile, competitors like Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, are flailing. BofA beat earnings but the stock has been tanking on mortgage-related issues, and Goldman totally missed estimates last quarter.

As JP Morgan's success grew, he became an outspoken critic of financial regulation.

Dimon's love affair with Obama ended as the country's ire against banks turned into regulation calling for Wall Street banks to raise more capital and split up their prop trading desks.

Here's what he said about it in his annual letter to share holders this year:

As a result of Dodd-Frank, we now have multiple regulatory agencies with overlapping rules and oversight responsibilities. Although the FSOC was created, it is proving to be too weak to effectively manage the overlap and complexity. We have hundreds of rules, many of which are uncoordinated and inconsistent with each other. While legislation obviously is political, we now have allowed regulation to become politicized, which we believe will likely lead to some bad outcomes.

And to many still angry with Wall Street banks (like Occupy Wall Street protesters), Dimon was a symbol of bank excess.

Protesters demonstrated against Dimon directly on two occasions. Once in Seattle while he was giving a speech for the University of Washington, and again in front of his house in NYC.

Then suddenly, yesterday, the news broke that JP Morgan's Chief Investment Office faced a $2 billion loss.

A month before this announcement there had been reports that a trader known 'the London whale' had a massive CDS book.

And that showed up in JP Morgan's 10Q, which came out yesterday after the market closed. Jamie Dimon held a surprise conference call after its release to explain that the bank had tried a new hedging strategy to cover synthetic derivatives, but it had backfired.

A few key quotes from his call:

'The original premise of the synethic credit exposure was to hedge the company in a stress credit environment. That was the original proposition for the portfolio.'

'It could easily get worse this quarter,' Dimon says. It is likely they'll be volatile for the next 2 quarters.

Now everyone's talking about how Dimon will come out of this and regulators are pouncing.

Jamie's life ain't bad, but we're not sure if it beats this guy's...

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