All of them are great operating guys. Dimon has become much more than this.
He is a truly public figure. Some peers think he has gone too far. But Dimon is not going to stop. He has also positioned himself as a champion of the positive role that banking can play in society. He thinks it is the right thing to do. He applies the same ruthless business logic to the positive outcomes the bank is looking to achieve: reviewing, analyzing, studying.
He believes such initiatives have made JPMorgan Chase a better company. But the company he has built faces a big challenge. Dimon is now One of his great achievements has been to create a defined, positive culture in a business that is actually rather new, made up of several different banks coming together over three decades.
Rivals say the problem JPMorgan faces is that its culture is wrapped up almost entirely in the image and brand of its leader. He inspires an almost cultish devotion. Who can fill his shoes when he calls it a day?
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The model of a modern banker, Dimon arrived in jeans and open collar. All of his fabled charm, intensity and blunt speaking were on display throughout. Once complete, it will house nearly twice as many employees as the old building. The rebuild will take five to seven years. There are rumours that the new building might be named in his honour. It would be a fitting tribute. He gets here, goes to the Greek part of town, washes dishes, eventually becomes a banker and then a stockbroker.
My father joined him, having graduated from Hofstra. I have two brothers. One went into physics, one into education. But I was always interested in the business world. In college I wrote a paper on that merger and that got me more interested.
They had never done branch budgets before. It was quite amazing. They had 40 to 50 branches, and I was going into them and putting together numbers for the financial controller. Peter Cohen was the CFO at the time. But financial services was a fascinating business. That needs to be done not just by banks but also institutional investors, brokers, private equity, you name it. I went and worked for two years at a consulting firm. And I realized I did not want to be a consultant. It was not a great firm but it was a great education: you got to see good companies and bad companies and learn how they worked.
I was fascinated by what Sandy had built. It was big, it was political, you saw a lot of bureaucracy and it was the first time I ever saw how the top managers operated. That was the first time I thought I could do one of those senior jobs one day. I went to the sales conferences, saw all the administrative issues, witnessed errors on the trading floors.
And then when Sandy left, I left with him. It was just a platform. It was not a good company. It was in consumer finance. But it also had a hotel in Ireland from a default on a loan. It had a tiny little insurance company called Gulf Insurance. It had irrigation systems in kibbutzes in Israel. Consumer finance was the good business. We set up a group to get rid of these other things and I was partially responsible for that too, managing the disposal of these assets around the world. You have to know every asset, every liability, every person.
I remember there was a loan from a guy that refused to pay us. He owed us money on a deal that went bankrupt. He had this huge house. The guy had plenty of money. I had someone drive by the house and do a valuation. There were no plants on the executive floor. People just kept on and on paying these bills even though the plants had gone. I could give you a million stories like that.
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They never leave you. We had to do all this printing every month and the cost was going up and up, and the staff wanted to buy a big new Xerox printer. That was pathetic. I got copies of all the reports. I arranged a big conference room. I laid all the reports out.blog.burnsforce.com/plantilla-de-plan-de-negocios-para-la-apertura.php
Some of the reports were being sent to a man in Dallas who had died three years earlier. I sent one guy to look at our paper supply. We were paying a lot of money to store paper. But when he got to the store there was no paper there. A year and a half later they came back and said we really do need to buy that printer. We were just in the process of buying Primerica. How much did you get this for?
You hire people with a nose to do it. He was a killer that way. You have instincts. I do worry that, in a big company, people grow up without those kinds of instincts because so much is done for them.
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But you train people and we are diligent. This kind of work is not just sitting in an office reviewing paper. I was checking how hard and smart they worked: how many meetings they had on a trip, what time they left and what time they came back. And whenever you go on a trip like that, keep a list. What did you hear, what did you learn and what did you do about it? If our people are right about some problem, you fix it. Always look at the competition. Always assess the landscape. Keep growing. Obviously, you want to spend efficiently. Good expense is that new branch, that new banker, that new piece of technology.
I just got more and more responsibilities. I picked up technology. By the time we bought Primerica, I oversaw most of corporate, HR, finance and risk functions. Not the big ones: they reported to Sandy. But then I became chief operating officer of Smith Barney. At the same time, I was president and chief operating officer of Primerica, so I just kept accumulating responsibilities.
I knew I could run companies.