JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon gave a memorable interview with Carlyle Group CEO David Rubenstein at the Economic Club of Washington D.C. last month.
“It was off the charts – one of the best I’ve ever heard,” Warren Buffett said in an email.
Dimon addressed a wide array of topics from the need for the Federal Reserve to raise rates, to the benefits of corporate tax reform.
It’s worth watching the full 45-minute exchange between the two titans of business, especially ahead of the 2016 presidential election. During the panel, Dimon said that Republicans and Democrats shouldn’t denigrate each other over the problems being raised by both sides.
He went on to offer an upbeat assessment on America.
“America has the best hand ever dealt of any country on this planet today and ever,” Dimon said. “And Americans don’t fully appreciate what I’m about to say.”
He continued: “We have peaceful, wonderful neighbors in Canada and Mexico. We have the biggest military barriers ever built called the Atlantic and the Pacific. We have all the food, water, and energy we will ever need. We have the best military on the planet and we will for as long as we have the best economy. And if you’re a liberal, listen closely to me in that one. OK, because the Chinese would love to have our economy. We have the best universities on the planet. There are great ones elsewhere, but these are the best. We still educate most of the kids who start businesses around the world. We have the rule of law, which is exceptional. If you don’t believe me we can talk about Brazil, Russia…Venezuela, Argentina, China, India. Believe me, it’s not quite there. We have a magnificent work ethic. We have innovation from the core of our bones. You can ask anyone in this room…It’s not just the Steve Jobs. We’re the widest, deepest financial markets the world has ever seen. I just made a list of these things. Maybe I missed something. It’s extraordinary. It’s extraordinary. And we have it today.”
Buffett has made similar observations in his famed investor letters. He has said that the babies being born in America today are the “luckiest crop in history.”
When Dimon worked for Sandy Weill
Rubenstein asked about Dimon’s early career in banking which included working with Wall Street legend Sandy Weill for twelve years to build Citi into a global financial conglomerate. All of it came to a tumultuous end.
“It was a hell of a run, and then he fired me,” Dimon said of Weill.
“A year later I called him up — I called him; he didn’t call me, just so you know — I said, ‘Sandy it’s time to break bread,’” he said.
At a lunch at the Four Seasons, Dimon said he described mistakes he had made as well as mistakes Weill had made. He said he was pleased with the outcome.
“It was quite clear he did the wrong thing for the company,” Dimon said.
He went on to describe his management style, describing how much he invests himself into his company.
“I wear the damn jersey,” he said. “I’m not a hired gun. I’m gonna bleed for the company and give it everything I got.”
Importantly, he emphasized his passion for the work, and how it’s about more than money. He explained by describing how Rubenstein himself even tried poaching Dimon. He recalled instances when Rubenstein would visit JPMorgan’s offices to poach people.
“One of those time it was for me, for a lot more than they pay me at JPMorgan Chase. Just so you know,” Dimon said. And time and time again, he said he’d turn Rubenstein and others down.
“I don’t do what I do for compensation.”
Watch the full video below:
Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance.