JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said some top executives at the largest U.S. bank “acted like children” in handling an errant derivatives bet that cost the company more than $6.2 billion last year.
“Instead of helping, they were running around with their head chopped off, ‘what does this mean for me personally, how’s my reputation?’” Dimon, 56, said today at a conference in San Francisco hosted by the New York-based bank. Some people “felt they could take advantage of it personally, they were willing to hurt the company by maneuvering.”
The so-called London whale, the nickname of the U.K.-based trader Bruno Iksil because his trading book was so large, made a wrong-way bet on credit derivatives that led to the company’s single biggest trading loss and at one point wiped out as much as $51 billion in market value. At least a dozen state, federal and international bodies are investigating the trades.
“We had 100 people who worked every day for 90 days to help the real problem, the risk, not the ongoing regulatory review, but the real problem to get the risk down so we didn’t have ongoing exposure,” Dimon said. “You learn the good and the bad about people and that’s invaluable to find out who those people are. Invaluable.”
While some people “acted terribly,” he said the bank now has the “best management team I’ve ever had in my entire life.”