The covers story for this month's Bloomberg Markets magazine is a big piece on Jamie Dimon and how "no bank has more to lose with the new financial service rules than JPMorgan," as well as what bad WaMu loans could mean for the bank. And while Dimon is no rosy-eyed optimist and seems to have the press's number (telling people in 2009, “I know exactly what the headline will say when I make a mistake: ‘Dimon Loses Luster,’” according to two people who heard the comments), there's a sense that throughout everything he's done in the past and will do in the future, he knows things will be okay. That's because, one, JD is hard worker who has the courage of his convictions and two, he's got a case of gin that says so.
Dimon doesn’t want to hear excuses for his executives’ failures. He has a sign in his office in big bold type that reads “No Whiners.” “It’s a looking-forward mentality: Don’t whine about it; just get it done,” says Ron Seiffert, whom Dimon hired from Huntington Bancshares Inc. to run Bank One’s small-business lending in 2002. Seiffert says Dimon displayed his philosophy when United Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2002, after being weakened by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Bank One was one of the airline’s biggest creditors. Instead of scaling back his exposure, Dimon decided to extend even more credit to the airline.
It was a risky bet that eventually paid off, Seiffert says. “He said: ‘We made this decision. If we made the wrong decision, I’ll go home, I’ll have a couple of martinis, I’ll wake up the next day and we’ll come back,’” Seiffert says.
And hey, hey, hey-- the booze isn't just reserved for JD.
Dimon doesn’t always play the role of F-word-slinging tough guy. Executives, including junior managers, whose work catches his attention might get invited to sip wine in his office after markets close on Friday afternoon, current and former employees say. It’s a tradition begun under Weill, when Dimon was his chief of staff at American Express.