What does it take to become chief executive of America’s largest bank? According to the man who currently holds the job, one must “give a s–t.”
JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon was asked during the bank’s 2023 Investor Day on Monday about what he sees as the most important attributes in whoever the board chooses as his eventual successor, and he did not hold back.
Dimon began his answer by saying he believes it is a mistake to focus on any singular strength when choosing the next generation of leadership for a company, and he provided a list of qualities he believes his replacement would need.
“I think the most important traits is that you’re trusted and respected by people, that you work your ass off, that you give a s–t, that you know you don’t know everything,” Dimon said. “They have curiosity, they have grit, they have courage.”
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“That you’re willing to change direction, you’re willing to go in front of your shareholders and say, ‘We screwed up, we made a mistake, we were wrong about that,’” he continued. “Those are the things I think are the most important … not one particular thing.”
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The billionaire and longtime Wall Street titan said that his replacement would of course need to know enough to do the job and that some skills can be learned, “but if you don’t have grit, you don’t have it. [If] you don’t have courage, you don’t have it.”
Dimon went on to say that the kind of person who defends every decision they make would not be a good choice for replacing him either.
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“My management team knows, I don’t think I’ve ever, ever defended a decision,” he said. “Just do the right thing going forward, that’s it. Do the right thing going forward. I don’t really care what we did yesterday, and so I’m very much that mindset. I also get over bad s–t really quickly … because that’s how you can kind of move on in life.”
After providing a litany of traits his eventual replacement would need to have, Dimon expressed confidence that JPMorgan already has a number of leaders in-house that could fill his shoes.
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He added, “I think the board is very comfortable that we’ve got really top choices here.”
When asked about his prospective retirement plans during the talk, Dimon signaled he does not intend to step down anytime soon, saying he still approaches the job with the same intensity he always has.