How Jamie Dimon Became one of Banking’s Billionaires
How do you become the CEO, Chairman and President of one of the largest companies on Earth?
There may be no set formula to follow, but the story of Jamie Dimon’s journey to the top of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. is as good a case study as any.
A Harvard Educated New Yorker
Born in 1956 to a family of Greek immigrant bankers, Dimon grew up in New York City, Queens, with two brothers before studying undergrad psychology and economics at Tufts University. After graduating, he worked for a couple of years in management consulting before deciding to re-enter education at the acclaimed Harvard Business School.
While studying for his MBA from Harvard, Dimon spent the summer at Goldman Sachs before meeting his long-time mentor: Sandy Weill. At the time Weill worked at American Express and convinced Dimon to turn down offers from Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley and to instead work from him as an assistant. Taking a leap of faith, Dimon trusted Weill and indeed moved to American Express to formally start his career in finance.
Taking the Finance Industry by Storm
It was a successful partnership. Weill and Dimon became somewhat of a dynamic duo, left American Express and took over the consumer finance company, Commercial Credit. Many mergers, acquisitions and restructurings later, the company would become the international conglomerate: CitiGroup.
It wasn’t all sunshine and roses, however. Following personal differences, Weill asked Dimon to leave the Citigroup.
Dimon bounded back quickly. In 2000 he became the CEO of One Bank, the nation’s fifth-largest bank at the time. Four years later: One Bank merged with JP Morgan Chase and Dimon officially became CEO in 2005 and Chairman in 2006 of the combined company.
Surviving the Financial Crisis: A Success Story at JPM
One of Dimon’s most notable achievements was the relatively smaller losses incurred by the 2008 Financial Crisis at JP Morgan, in part due to the firm’s focus on their fortress balance sheet. So, while still taking a bail-out from the government during the recession, JPMorgan managed to withstand much more than some of its competitors.
The Jamie Dimon We Know Today
Despite multiple health complications, including Dimon’s battle with throat cancer and recovering from open-heart surgery, Dimon has continued to increase share prices & earnings, expand operations and develop inspiring initiatives – the firm has recently committed $30bn to pioneering race equity.
Today, JPMorgan Chase remains the largest bank in America and the 5th largest in the world, with total assets under management at $3,684.25bn – for comparison that is roughly similar to the GDP of Germany.
The Secret to Success?
Jamie Dimon has had an incredibly successful career so far and shows no signs of slowing down. JP Morgan has offered Dimon a unique stock option bonus to keep his position as CEO. While there are hundreds of factors involved, Dimon has consistently highlighted that his commitment to family and personal well-being is what gave him the energy to succeed.
I always tell people at JPMorgan Chase: You’ve got to take care of your friends, your family, your spirit, your mind, your body, your soul, otherwise you won’t have a fulfilling life, and those are important