Friday, January 16, 2015

Not My Fault: Jamie Dimon

Not My Fault:  Jamie Dimon

In years past when JP Morgan was reporting growing earnings, Jamie Dimon and his executive team took full credit for the bank’s achievements.  On Wednesday, the bank reported earnings for the 4th quarter of 2014.  While the bank is still extremely profitable, earnings fell by 6.6%.[1]  Earnings were dragged down by legal expenses and reduced trading revenues.  Did Mr. Dimon take responsibility for the bank’s financial results? 

No.  Mr. Dimon blamed regulators and Wall Street analysts.  According to Mr. Dimon, there are too many regulators asking too many questions.  In addition, Mr. Dimon bristled at the suggestion of some analysts that the bank is too big to manage and should be broken up. Mr. Dimon’s reaction is all too typical of corporate CEOs.  They build up their compensation packages by taking more credit than they deserve in the good times and then deflect blame when things turn sour in order to protect their paychecks and power.

Jamie Dimon was considered among the best executives in financial services.  The scandals and improprieties of the past several years have tarnished that image.  Mr. Dimon could reclaim that image if he accepted responsibility for the bank’s current earnings and strategic challenges.  However, imperial executives don’t accept responsibility; it’s beneath their pay grade.


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