Sometimes a species reaches the end of its natural existence. As its numbers dwindle, disappearance becomes inevitable and the last survivors of the doomed herd become objects of curiosity and pity. This is happening to chief executives who are also chairmen — but with none of the pity.
While waiting in a big Manhattan hospital about 15 years ago, I glimpsed the chairman of one of the world’s biggest banks in a consulting room. I never found out why he was there. If he was ill, his employer never said and the man is now enjoying a long and apparently healthy retirement.
Life can be unfair and it often feels unfair even when it is not. Both JPMorgan Chase and UK energy companies such as Centrica know this feeling.
Is the $13bn settlement between JPMorgan Chase and the US state and federal authorities long-overdue justice for an errant bank, or a shakedown by politicians who went back on their word?
Charles Gasparino, the maverick Fox News business correspondent and commentator, thinks it is the latter. He wrote in the New York Post this weekend: Read more
Not long ago, Goldman Sachs was Wall Street’s lightning rod, attracting bad publicity and interventions from regulators. Its place has been taken by JPMorgan Chase.
Credit to Jamie Dimon for attempting to see the wood for the trees by felling some of the trees. The JPMorgan chief executive’s memo to staff makes clear that “simplifying [its] business” and “refocusing [its] priorities” is, well, a priority.
But what Mr Dimon is attempting is arguably the most complicated task known to managers of large multinationals, whether they sell food or financial services. It is dangerous to imply, as he does, that the goal of simplification can be achieved, once and for all, by “recognising our problems, rolling up our sleeves and fixing them”. Read more
US chief executives are beginning to wean themselves from their perplexing attachment to the role of chairman. But at a few large banks, the addiction persists.
JP Morgan’s sudden conference call to disclose, and to try to explain, the $2bn trading loss that it racked up in only six weeks was one of the most absorbing bits of live financial theatre since the 2008 crash.
The star of the show, naturally, was Jamie Dimon, the bank’s ebullient and outspoken chief executive, who has been out in front leading the industry’s defence of “too big too fail” banks and pushing back against new capital requirements.
Mr Dimon isn’t given to mincing his words and he certainly didn’t this time, as I noted on Twitter while listening:
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