In yesterday's Wall Street Journal's book review, Philip Delves Broughton reviewed Paul Sullivan's new book, Clutch. Here's the passage from the review that I found to be amazingly ill-informed and wrong-headed.
"At one point he contrasts the performances of Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, and Kenneth Lewis, the former head of Bank of America, during the financial crisis of 2008. Both men went into the crisis with their firms in good health. By the end of it, Mr. Dimon had acquired Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual and handsomely increased his company's share price. Mr. Lewis had acquired the teetering Merrill Lynch and seen Bank of America lose $90 billion in shareholder value.
Why the difference? Mr. Lewis made the errors typical of chokers. He over-thought the situation, and he was over-confident. When the Merrill deal was criticized, he tried to avoid the blame. He acted, according to Mr. Sullivan, as an "imperial chief executive," refusing to believe that the worst might happen. Mr. Dimon, by contrast, immersed himself in every detail of his acquisitions, fought to get prices that made hard financial sense and never shirked from the consequences. It was as if all his experience as a financier and manager had found its perfect expression in that moment."
Well, here's an alternative view. Substantiated by facts. The accompanying chart displays stock price series for Chase, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and the S&P500 Index from 2006 to the present. Dimon became CEO of Chase at the beginning of 2006.