Approximately 8 years ago, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon received a call during a birthday dinner with his family, asking if he would buy Bear Stearns. The bank, which had gone up in smoke not unlike the smoke ex-BSC chief Jimmy Cayne routinely tried to keep from wafting down the halls of the c-suite, by stuffing towels underneath the door to his office and frantically spraying Febreze every time he heard footsteps, had few options and needed Dimon's help, badly. Understanding the urgency of the situation, Dimon got the JP Morgan board on the phone and communicated the request, and then had his team do a weekend's worth of due diligence before agreeing to toss Bear a lifeline. In the years since, as JPM has paid billions in mortgage related fines it inherited from Bear,1 Dimon's feelings on the acquisition have shifted from, "[We did it] for the good of the country," to "Would I have done Bear Stearns again knowing what I know today? It's real close" to JESUS F*CKING CHRIST WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING? I NEED TO GO ON RECORD, IN PRINT, SAYING I WOULDN'T BUY BEAR AGAIN IF IT WAS GROWING OUT OF MY ASS:
“In case you were wondering: No, we would not do something like Bear Stearns again — in fact, I don’t think our Board would let me take the call,” he wrote in his latest annual letter to shareholders.
Does he wish he could say he was drinking when he said yes? Sure does. And while he can't change the past, he can make sure it never happens again, by authorizing the board to taze him and/or slap him across the face and shout "NO" should he ever bring up any thing like this again.
1. And, y'know, some of its own.↩