Jamie Dimon

Jamie Dimon Biography.com

Famous Business Leaders, CEO, Banker(1956–)
Jamie Dimon is one of the most powerful people in finance. In 2006, he was president and CEO of JPMorgan Chase; he also became chairman of the board in 2007.

Synopsis

Jamie Dimon was born in New York City on March 13, 1956. A third-generation stockbroker, Dimon started his career working with Sandy Weill at American Express. After personal friction led to his parting ways with Weill, Dimon joined Bank One. This bank would merge with JPMorgan Chase, creating a financial giant that Dimon came to lead as president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board.

Early Years

James Dimon was born in New York City on March 13, 1956. He grew up splitting his time between a Park Avenue apartment and the suburb of Larchmont in New York state's affluent Westchester County. Finance was the family business: Dimon's father and grandfather were both stockbrokers.

Dimon graduated from Tufts University in 1978 and later enrolled in Harvard Business School, where he established himself as a star student (and where he met future wife Judith Kent, with whom he would have three children).

After graduate school, Dimon went to work for Sandy Weill, a friend of the family who would become his mentor. From 1982 to 1985, Dimon was Weill's assistant at American Express, and when Weill left the credit card behemoth in 1986, Dimon followed him to a consumer lending firm called Commercial Credit Company. 

Climbing the Ranks

Dimon served as Weill's right-hand man as Commercial Credit Company went through multiple mergers and acquisitions. After several deals, they ended up integrating Primerica, Smith Barney and Travelers Group, and Dimon was named the chairman and CEO of Smith Barney in 1996.

The acquisitions never stopped, with Salomon Brothers joining the fold in 1997, and by the end of the decade, Dimon was the co-chairman and co-CEO of Salomon Smith Barney Holdings. In the spring of 1998, a merger between Travelers and Citicorp resulted in the formation of Citigroup, company that would go on top become a massive banking corporation. Dimon became the president of Citigroup, but he would not stay in his new position for long. Personal friction with Weill—resulting from a number of factors, among them Weill's resentment of Dimon's growing stature—led to Dimon being asked to resign in November 1998.

Becomes Head of JPMorgan Chase

On the day that he left Citigroup, Dimon told a coworker, "I’m never going to work for anyone else again." Dimon was true to his word—the next job he took, in 2000, was as the chairman and CEO of Bank One, a Chicago institution that was experiencing financial difficulties.

Over the next three years, Dimon managed to fix the bank's balance sheets, and in 2004, he shepherded Bank One into a merger with JPMorgan Chase. Dimon became the president and chief operating officer of JPMorgan Chase after the merger, and he stepped in as CEO in 2006. A year after that, he was also chairman of the board.

In 2008, the world was hit by a financial crisis, and Dimon was at the helm of his firm throughout the ensuing Great Recession. He steered the business clear of most of the wreckage and maintained its profitability, while also scooping up ailing Bear Stearns for $2 per share, a mere 7 percent of what the company was worth a few days before. For his role in the activities surrounding the financial meltdown, Dimon appeared in the book Too Big to Fail and was played by Bill Pullman in the 2011 HBO film of the same name.

Recent Years

Dimon faced a different problem in 2012: the “London Whale,” a $6 billion trading loss involving the firm’s London arm. JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay approximately $1 billion in regulatory fines after the incident. Dimon himself was issued a pay cut due to the losses.

In November 2013, JPMorgan Chase, which had been accused of misrepresenting mortgage securities it was selling prior to the 2008 crisis, entered into a $13 billion settlement with government regulators.

Despite these challenges, Dimon remains in control of JPMorgan. In January 2014, he received a 74% rise in his pay over his 2013 salary. That same year, Dimon disclosed that he had a treatable form of throat cancer. As driven as ever, he told shareholders that despite the diagnosis, "We will continue to run the company as normal." He’s since undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was back on the job in 2015.

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!