Jamie Dimon, CEO of banking giant JPMorgan Chase & Co., told The Wall Street Journal how close he had come to death as surgeons rushed to repair an aortic dissection, a tear in the inner wall of the artery that delivers blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
“I knew I might not make it,” Dimon, 64, told the WSJ in his first interview since he underwent life-saving surgery in March.
Dimon “felt a rip in his chest” on the morning of March 5, just after a discussion with top-ranking colleagues about the projected impact of the coronavirus. “I felt it,” Dimon said of his awareness of the tear. “I thought I heard it.”
“Jamie, take a cab,” his doctor told him in a phone call. “You don’t have time for an ambulance.”
“Hours later, Mr. Dimon was clinging to life,” as surgeons worked to save his life, the WSJ reported.
Such a tear can typically be fatal, and JPMorgan Chase’s board of directors held a vote to implement the so-called “Jamie got hit by a bus” plan—the bank’s emergency succession protocol, the WSJ said. But Dimon recovered, and was well enough to begin working remotely the first week of April. On June 9, he returned to working at the company’s Madison Avenue HQ.
Dimon is cautious in placing too much hope in the government’s $900 billion stimulus plan, even if it ultimately passes. The WSJ said he believes “it won’t fix the structural defects that allowed the chasm to open up in the first place.”