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Pressure Builds On Jamie Dimon: Seven And A Half Things To Know

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 05/14/2012 7:57 am Updated: 05/14/2012 12:19 pm

Jamie Dimon
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

Thing One: Dimon Agonistes: Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. Or bankers. Or both.

JPMorgan Chase and its CEO Jamie Dimon are increasingly under siege as a result of their own insane hubris. The bank built up massive risks in an office designed to hedge risk, resulting in a $2 billion trading loss -- one that will likely grow larger -- all while its chief Jamie Dimon bragged that he didn't need the oversight of regulators. Now Dimon has lost, at the very least, his position as the most influential banker in America and may have ended up subjecting his entire industry to more of the regulation he hates.

Over the weekend there were calls for Dimon's removal, which for now still seems a distant prospect, through growing less unlikely by the day. Several others will be ceremonially tossed under the bus, of course. Ina Drew, the woman in charge of managing the bank's risks, will leave soon, as will two others in the London office responsible for the loss, the Wall Street Journal and other outlets report. In fact, that entire London office could be at risk of losing their jobs, Bloomberg writes. But the responsibility for the risks they took may rest with Dimon himself, according to Bloomberg, which reports that he pushed the London office to take bigger risks.

Update: Drew has indeed stepped down.

Dimon was contrite on a "Meet the Press" appearance yesterday, but his constant denigration of regulations and regulators in the past could be coming back to haunt him now, writes Reuters.

Thing Two: Greece's Slippery Slope: Greece edged several more steps toward an exit from the euro zone over the weekend, as politicians there failed to hammer out a new governing coalition. That means fresh elections are more likely, Reuters writes, and given that austerity-favoring politicians are less popular than Zombie Hitler Nixon, it is increasingly unlikely that Greece will stick by its deal to slash its budget to get more bailout money. European politicians are openly discussing the possibility of a Greek exit for the first time, the Financial Times writes. They say it'll be manageable, but a divorce could get ugly, and that has global markets spooked this morning. And the anti-austerity sentiment is spreading, even to the very heart of austerity itself, Germany, where Angela Merkel suffered a stinging loss in regional elections this weekend, Reuters notes.

Thing Three: Toodle-oo, Yahoo: Things may soon be settling down a little at Yahoo, which has been embroiled in recent weeks by a controversy over the credentials of CEO Scott Thompson, sparked by an activist shareholder, Dan Loeb of the hedge fund Third Point. Over the weekend, Thompson agreed to step down, and Loeb won seats on the company's board. But the company now must find its fourth CEO in three years, while rivals like Facebook and Google drink its milkshake on a daily basis, The New York Times points out.

Thing Four: Three Horsemen: If you're a mobile start-up, the odds are pretty good you're about to get bought by one of either Facebook, Groupon or Zynga, writes Shayndi Raice of the Wall Street Journal. The three companies have been using the wheelbarrows full of cash they're getting from investors to shore up their defenses in mobile technology. In fact, Facebook buys so many companies you can almost read its trail of creative-destruction like tea leaves to divine its future plans, writes Jenna Wortham of The New York Times.

Thing Five: Commodity Cooling: A few years ago, before the global financial crisis hit, commodity prices were soaring to new heights on strength of demand in China, India and other emerging markets, and analysts were touting a new "supercycle" in commodities, meaning high prices for oil, copper, soybeans and the like, as far as the eye could see. That idea got fresh legs earlier this year as prices started soaring again. Suddenly, it's hit the brakes, and analysts are now wondering if the "supercycle" has met its Kryptonite, writes Liam Pleven of the Wall Street Journal. Bad news for commodity producers, good news for regular humans.

Thing Six: But Who's Counting? The Obama administration takes a lot of heat for failing to convict any high-level Wall Street executives, or much of anybody, really, in the wake of the financial crisis. You'd think, then, that maybe the Justice Department would have a tally of people it's managed to get convicted, so it could counter those criticisms. Silly you! You think the Justice Department is actually keeping statistics? It's not, writes Jean Eaglesham of the Wall Street Journal: "In a response earlier this month to a March request from Sen. Charles Grassley (R.,Iowa), the Justice Department said it doesn't hold information on defendants' business titles."

Thing Seven: Icahn Haz Chesapeake? Legendary activist shareholder Carl Icahn may soon announce he has a stake in Chesapeake Energy, reports the Wall Street Journal: "Such a move by Mr. Icahn could ratchet up pressure on Chesapeake, which faces a cash crunch and corporate-governance controversies that have pushed its stock to the lowest level since 2009...."

Thing Seven And One Half: Best. EPL. Ever: Manchester City won the English Premier League title over the weekend in arguably the most dramatic fashion possible, with a couple of last-second goals that snatched the title away shockingly from the reviled Manchester United, a turn of events the Guardian calls "so extraordinary it is difficult to know if there are enough superlatives in existence to do it justice." The dark lining of this silver cloud is that Man City essentially purchased the title by spending gazillions of pounds on mercenary players, but that is a good thing, argues Stefan Szymanski in Forbes, as that's the only way for the Man Cities of the EPL to compete with foul juggernauts like Man U. and Arsenal. The result may have been the greatest EPL season in history, writes "The Fifth Official" at ESPN.

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Calendar Du Jour:

Economic Data:

Nada.

Corporate Earnings:

Not much to speak of.

Heard On The Tweets:

@Austan_Goolsbee: #lettersyouwontsee: Dear Mr. Volcker, you were right all along. we're now fixing things and won't let it happen again. yours, wall St.

@TheStalwart: Jamie Dimon wouldn't be going on TV to talk about a trading loss unless he were seriously freaked out about the loss strengthening Volcker.

@lizzieohreally: Duh. RT @BetsyMTP: Jamie Dimon: "in hindsight, we took far too much risk. The strategy we had was badly vetted. It was badly monitored."

@moorehn: Hubris, thy Name is Dimon. Jamie Dimon should have known better. Once upon a time, he did. My piece: http://t.co/HGSFG8f7 now, good night

@zerohedge: Scapegoating begins: Three JPM executives tied to trading losses set to leave this week - WSJ

@JimGaffigan: I have a feeling this day is going to be a mother.

-- Calendar and tweets rounded up by Khadeeja Safdar.

And you can follow us on Twitter, too: @markgongloff and @byKhadeeja

Here's more on JPMorgan's whale fail and nine other big bank disasters:
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  • JPMorgan Chase Loses $2 Billion

    On May 10th, the U.S.'s largest bank JPMorgan Chase announced one of its London trading desks had lost <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/10/jpmorgan-chase-london-whale_n_1507662.html?ref=business" target="_hplink">$2 billion on bad bets on credit derivatives</a>.

  • UBS Trader Loses $2 Billion

    Kweku Adoboli, a trader for Swiss bank UBS, lost <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/15/ubs-traders_n_963715.html" target="_hplink">$2 billion on unauthorized trades in September 2011</a>.

  • MF Global Collapse

    Brokerage firm <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/31/mf-global-to-file-for-bankruptcy_n_1066902.html" target="_hplink">MF Global filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy</a> in October 2011 after a failed $6 billion bet on European debt.

  • Rogue Societe General Trader Loses $6 Billion

    Hailed as "history's biggest rogue trading scandal" at the time, French trader Jerome Kerviel was convicted in October 2010 of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/05/jerome-kerviel-rogue-fren_n_750464.html" target="_hplink">losing French bank Societe General around $6 billion</a> due to unauthorized trades.

  • Bear Sterns Bought By JPMorgan Chase

    After a run on investment bank Bear Sterns nearly caused its collapse in 2007, JPMorgan bought the firm for $2 a share the following March, <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/mar2008/db20080316_356646.htm" target="_hplink">Businessweek</a> reports.

  • AIG Largest Single Bailout

    Insurance company AIG became the recipient of the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/aig-bailout-realize-15-billion-profit-taxpaers-gao_n_1498645.html" target="_hplink">largest ever government bailout for a single corporation</a> when a $182 billion rescue package saved it from a liquidity crisis following a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/aig-bailout-realize-15-billion-profit-taxpaers-gao_n_1498645.html" target="_hplink">downgrade of its credit rating</a> in 2008.

  • Washington Mutual Bankruptcy

    One of the biggest players in retail banking and mortgages during the housing crisis, Washington Mutual filed for Chapter 11 in September 2008, after sustaining losses on billions of dollars worth of mortgage and home loans, <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/id/46793926/WaMu_Emerges_From_Bankruptcy_Protection" target="_hplink">CNBC</a> reports.

  • Citigroup Bailout

    Citigroup came to the brink of collapse after it reported losses around $10 billion in 2007, in part due to failed mortgage investments, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/15/news/companies/citigroup_earnings/index.htm" target="_hplink">CNNMoney</a> reported. To keep the bank afloat the government issued <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/23/feds-consider-plan-to-res_n_145856.html" target="_hplink">a $20 billion bailout in November of that year</a>.

  • Merill Lynch Shocks Investors With Big Loss

    After projecting a $4.5 billion loss during the third quarter of 2007, Merrill Lynch shocked investors by reporting a $7.9 billion deficit from trading mortgage-backed securities and other structured products, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/11/26/101232838/" target="_hplink">according to CNNMoney</a>.

  • Barings Bank Collapse

    One time star trader Nick Leeson was responsible for sinking British bank Barings after losing $1 billion when an an earthquake struck Kobe, Japan in 1995, causing his investments in the Nikkei to fail as the Japanese stock exchange crashed, <a href="http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1937349_1937350_1937488,00.html" target="_hplink">TIME reported</a>.

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