Sh*t CEOs Say: 6 Outrageous Statements from America's Big-Mouthed Overlords
JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on June 19, 2012.
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The sh*t CEOs say! When the chiefs of giant corporations are not blaming others for their mismanagement and unscrupulous behavior, they’re explaining why their distorted worldviews are best for the 99 percent. They do this, of course, at a time of declining national median income and huge paydays for executives.
Recently, there has been an uptick of particularly stupid remarks coming from the mouths of America’s CEOs. Here are a few of the most out-of-touch and out-of-line oracles, a mix of recent gaffes and classic blunders.
1. “That's why I'm richer than you.”
JPMorgan honcho Jamie Dimon has taken time out of his regularly scheduled program of mismanaging a systemically dangerous bank to divulge why he's richer than the rest of us. Last week, Mike Mayo, who is both an analyst at CLSA and a critic of too-big-to-fail banks, was on an investor conference call -- a forum in which executives typically offer BS about their company’s performance. Mayo wasn’t having it. He asked pointedly if customers might take their money to better-capitalized banks than JPMorgan. ( Check out the video.)
Mayo: I think what I hear UBS saying in the presentation is that if I'm an affluent customer I'll feel a lot better going to UBS if they have 13.5 (percent) capital ratio than another big bank with a 10 percent ratio. Do you agree with that?
Dimon: You would go to UBS and not JPMorgan?
Mayo: I didn't say that. That's their argument.
Dimon: That's why I'm richer than you.
The mystery of Dimon’s riches solved! Dimon became 1 percenter extraordinairre because he operates in a lax regulatory climate that lets him get away with low capital ratios. That, of course, is one of the reasons the big banks blew up the economy during the recent financial crisis – they were over-leveraged. Which is awful for just about everybody -- investors, taxpayers and ordinary people dealing with economic ruin. But it sure is great for Dimon.
James Saft over at Reuters was less than impressed by Dimon’s musings:
“The real issue isn't who is rich, but rather whose interests are being fairly served and whose aren't. Dimon's approach gives short shrift to both shareholders and taxpayers. Taxpayers still carry substantial risks for which they are not being compensated, a state that will only change when regulations are tightened, and hopefully vastly simplified…Shareholders do badly because the kind of bank Dimon runs is prone to loss and volatility, leading markets to set a low value on the bank's earnings.”
Dimon may be wealthy, but his crappy performance as a CEO, demonstrated in the “London Whale” fiasco in which $6 billion went missing, has cost him. His pay was recently cut by more than half, to $11.5 million from $23 million. Alas, he still feels more than rich enough to continue his obnoxious bragging.
The Mayo exchange certainly isn’t the first time Dimon has shared his perspective on being filthy rich: In 2011, as bankers were under fire from the Occupy movement, he whined, "Acting like everyone who's been successful is bad and that everyone who is rich is bad -- I just don't get it.”
No, Jamie, and you probably never will.
2. “I don’t think that I would consider myself a feminist.”
Marissa Mayer, who recently became the CEO of Yahoo, catapulted to meme-of-the-moment when she decided, in a burst of anachronistic bone-headedness, that employees may no longer telecommute, but must stay chained to their desks five days a week.