After breaking record after record during President Trump’s first year in office, the stock market took a rapid decline in late January to early February 2017, causing some investors to panic. But not Jamie Dimon, who told Business Insider that while inflation was a legitimate concern, job growth was more important.”It’s not about the stock market, he said. “It’s about the people and their jobs.”
Dimon, 61, is chairman and CEO of America’s largest bank JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM), and considered one of the nation’s most powerful people. Listed at a $1.1 billion net worth in 2015, Forbes knocked him out of the “billionaire’s club” early in 2016, estimating his net worth had fallen to just under $900 million due to a portfolio wane, and listed him at $700 million later in the year. But that number very well could be back up into the billion range, as the New York Post reported late in 2016 that since Election Day, Dimon has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Wall Street boom.
For the 2013 fiscal year Dimon received a 74 percent pay raise to $20 billion, which the New York Times reported would stay at that level for 2014. With a value of nearly $230 billion, the bank is the largest and most powerful public company in the country, and fourth in the world behind three Chinese banks.
JPMorgan Chase was at the center of several high-profile investigations in 2013, paying $20 billion to settle legal claims, and reported a much-publicized $6 billion loss in 2012. Despite this, Dimon has managed to keep JPMorgan well ahead of the curve since taking the helm in 2006. Even when all the country’s major banks – e.g., Bank of America and Citigroup – were barely managing to stay afloat, the $2 trillion-in-assets bank thrived recently, earning Dimon the respect of his peers. He has been on Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people three times since 2006.
In July 2014, Dimon said he had been diagnosed with throat cancer. The following December, he announced to his staff that he had concluded treatment and that after testing, his doctors found no evidence of cancer in his body, although he will continue to be monitored. Although he continued to work during his treatment, he had cut back on his schedule. By 2016, it appeared the cancer was in remission and he had a good long-term prognosis.
Dimon was born in New York City. His grandfather, a Greek immigrant from Smyrna, was a broker and passed his knowledge of the business onto his son and partner Theodore, Dimon’s father. As a boy, Dimon attended the Browning School, a prestigious all-boys prep school on New York’s Upper East Side. He later majored in psychology and economics at Tufts University, and earned his MBA from Harvard University Business School. Upon graduating in 1982, Sanford Weill convinced him to turn down offers from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, and join him as an assistant at American Express. Through a series of unprecedented mergers and acquisitions that ensued, they formed Citigroup, then the largest financial services conglomerate in the world. Weill was the one who made the deals, but Dimon was the “whiz kid” who made the numbers work. Dimon left Citigroup in November 1998 due to an internal conflict with Weill.
His longterm concerns for the economy? As Dimon reemphasized to Business Insider: ”of course, the markets always readjust to changing expectations, and now the expectations change. You also have central banks reversing the purchase of bonds. And those are legitimate concerns, but again, if you have jobs and wages, that’s more important.