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The Hubris of Jamie Dimon

The man who thought he had everything under control just lost $2 billion—and it could happen again
The Hubris of Jamie Dimon
Photo illustration by 731; Photograph by Peter Foley/Bloomberg; Max Oppenheim/Getty Images

Jamie Dimon has the silver mane and piercing, gray-blue eyes of a chief executive officer from central casting, but he talks like one of his own charged-up traders. His blunt words tumble out in a New York hurry. Unlike other financial chieftains, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase seems to relish using those words to berate the lawmakers and regulators that hold his bank’s fate in their hands. “Jamie has taken on this mantle of defending this entire industry,” Michael Driscoll, who worked for Dimon as a trader at the Smith Barney brokerage, told Bloomberg News earlier this year. “He’s combative by nature. And like a lot of these alpha dogs, when he’s backed into a corner, he’s going to bark back.”

Words like comeuppance, schadenfreude, and even Dimonfreude have been laid on liberally since May 10, when Dimon blamed a $2 billion trading loss in JPMorgan’s London office on a hedging strategy that he confessed was “flawed, complex, poorly reviewed, poorly executed, and poorly managed.” (Otherwise, fine.) On NBC’s Meet the Press, he said, “We know we were sloppy. We know we were stupid.” The loss has probably grown as hedge funds attack the bank’s exposed flank.