Jaime Dimon is a famous Wall Street vice-cracker but joking about China is dangerous for the world’s top banking executives.
Speaking at a panel discussion at the Boston College Chief Executives Club, Dimon said, “I was in Hong Kong and joked that the Communist Party was celebrating its hundredth year. As well as JPMorgan. I bet we’ll last longer.
He didn’t stop there. ‘I can’t say that in China. He’s probably asking anyway, ’65-year-old banker added.
Speech: JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon (pictured) has twice apologized for his comments about China at Boston College’s chief executive club.
JPMorgan, founded in 1895, has been operating in China since 1921 – the same year the Chinese Communist Party was officially formed.
The comments were clearly met with laughter, and those who knew Demon were aware of his sense of humor.
But in a sign that the King of Wall Street is also wary of Beijing, he has apologized – twice.
First he said: ‘I’m sorry and shouldn’t make that comment. I was trying to emphasize the strength and longevity of our company. ‘
Hours later, he added: ‘I am really sorry for my recent comment because it is never okay to joke or deride people of any group, whether it is part of the country, its leadership or society and culture.
‘Speaking that way can be far from a constructive and thoughtful conversation in society that needs more than ever before.’
Daimon – so far at least – is viewed as almost untouchable.
He spent 16 years as chief executive of the bank, survived the financial crisis and made JP Morgan one of the most consistent performers on Wall Street.
His pop in China is a self-assured – indeed arrogant – stark contrast to the British rival HSBC, which has accused Beijing of ‘couturing’.
And there is little indication that they are ready to stand down. Though 65 years old, it is understood that he intends to stay at Fox Business for five more years in the summer: ‘I am not going to play golf and smell the flowers.’
She has survived throat cancer and underwent emergency cardiac surgery at the onset of infectious disease.
And he has outperformed other banks, including Goldman Sachs’ Supremo, Lloyd Blancfin, and other banks that caused the financial crisis.
Power duo: Dimon, with wife Judy, described by classmate Jeffrey Immelt – who later became president of GE – as ‘the sexiest and smartest girl in the classroom.’
Demon’s success has been reduced to his greatest strength, and while he has a good sense of humor, this can quickly turn into a fierce spirit.
He wakes up at 5am and is fully informed by 7.30am and stays in the office, although he has cut off running and tennis.
We see him at events with his wife Judy at Harvard, and classmate Jeffrey Immelt, who later became president of GE – described as ‘the best looking, sexiest and smartest girl in the class’.
It is said that he remembers the name of every junior he meets but also a list of whom he owes on his behalf. And he is never afraid to speak up and is ready to clash publicly with heads of state.
In 2011, he asked French President Nicolas Sarkozy to get the G20 to avoid ‘over-regulation’ of banks.
But Sarkozy saw red and launched attacks on bankers, saying he had taken steps to ‘defy common sense’ during the financial crisis and harm millions.
Surprisingly, Dimon’s time at JPMorgan has made him the richest man. Last year he took home £ 24 million, which coincided with his salary in 2019.
But the 2012 London Vale scandal was a significant blot on his copybook, resulting in one of JPMorgan’s Canary Wharf bankers losing £ 4.2 billion.
Dimon initially dismissed the story as a ‘storm on the teapot’, which he quickly regretted.
He later became more remorseful, calling the transactions ‘flawed, complex, poor review, poor execution and poor oversight’. The bank eventually paid a fine of more than £ 1bn to settle US and UK regulatory investigations in this regard.
For some time now, Demon’s rock star status has been under threat as regulators have questioned whether banks are unable to control their employees after the financial crisis and bankers are still at risk.
But if rivals think this is the end of the daemon, they are wrong.
He knows how to retain power and has overruled or sidelined potential successors, including Bill Winters, who went on to run Standard Chartered, and Jess Staley, who went to Barclays.
Nevertheless, the question marks whether the daemon can really last five more years.
There are rumors that a Reading University graduate and single mother of three children, British banker Marianne Lake, is getting closer to taking the title.
Lake is responsible for running JPMorgan’s consumer lending arm.
If Lake pulls it off, he will become the second leading British chief executive on Wall Street, with Scottish-based Jane Fraser leading Citigroup. But now, just like the Chinese Communist Party, Dimon looks adamant.
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