A few months ago, I wrote a profile of Jamie Dimon, CEO of the mega-bank JP Morgan. I thought that even while JP Morgan was facing plenty of trouble, Dimon’s ability to keep his dual job of CEO and chairman in a shareholders’ vote last May would mark a rebound for both the man and his firm.
As it turns out, I was quite wrong. With the fall season came another round of bad news for JP Morgan. Every week, it seems, a major newspaper runs a story, or two, or four, about the bank’s troubles. In September, the bank paid about $900 million for its mismanagement of a big trading loss; last week, we heard about a $4.5 billion settlement, and yesterday they finalized a largest-ever settlement for $13 billion with the federal government). Last quarter, JP Morgan disclosed that it upped the money set aside for legal costs to $23 billion — or, in other words, enough money to buy basically all of Twitter’s publicly traded stock. That’s a lot of cash stashed in a legal-fees-and-fines cookie jar.
So, at this point, it can’t get worse, right? Well, wrong again! Rolling Stone’s Mark Taibbi recently wrote a piece about the bank’s latest internally-dealt blow: a naïve PR meltdown worthy of Katy Perry’s Oh Honey character in the TV show How I Met Your Mother.
Here’s the run down: in the midst of a multi-year set of scandals about mismanagement, legal troubles, and political mishaps, the PR folks at JP Morgan thought that it’d be great to organize a Q&A on Twitter where folks ask career advice from a JP Morgan Exec.
To which we can only say: Oh, Honey …
It took a couple of days for someone to wake up and scrap the idea, which led to a public acknowledgement about the untimeliness (to say the least) of the plan … all in less than 140 characters.
Tomorrow’s Q&A is cancelled. Bad Idea. Back to the drawing board.
— J.P. Morgan (@jpmorgan) November 14, 2013
Still, by this time, the #AskJPM hashtag had become a free-for-all of Internet snark, culminating in a dramatic YouTube reading of the tweets by Stacey Keach.
As my five year old niece would say, it’s not good to laugh about the bad things that happen to other people. And, to be honest, a part of me still admires Dimon and some of the creative and dedicated folks I read about in Gillian Tett’s Fool’s Gold. But here’s what I want to #AskJPM: wouldn’t it be easier for us to believe that you’re trying to do the right thing if you stopped, you know, getting it wrong all the time?
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Cover image of retraction tweet courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user Rasmus Johnsen