Current Position: CEO, J.P. Morgan Chase
Signature Move: Don’t drink the Kool-Aid
It was a partnership made in banking heaven. For 16 years, beginning in 1982, Jamie Dimon and Sandy Weill worked pinstripe-to-pinstripe building what would become the financial behemoth Citicorp. Then it was over. Weill fired his longtime protégé in 1998, and for two years Dimon kept a low profile.
He re-emerged as Bank One CEO. And when J.P. Morgan Chase acquired Bank One, he became first president and then CEO of the giant Wall Street firm. While his competitors—led by Citigroup—gorged on exotic financial instruments that would turn toxic, Dimon played it (relatively) safe, leaving his firm in a (relatively) strong position after the meltdown, and himself as the rare hero in a saga filled with villains.
Despite this, Dimon, in a rare show of self doubt, told the Harvard Business School graduating class of 2009 that he hesitates to give advice, “because it sounds like I did” everything right, when “I did not.” When you fail, he told students, it's OK to get depressed and cry. But eventually, you have to “get over it.” Success, he said, isn’t only based on the things you do right, but how well you survive the things that go wrong.