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Is Jamie Dimon Leaving JPMorgan for Treasury?

By John Grgurich - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:33PM

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And if he is, what does that mean for the bank?

I swear on my mother's grave I had the same idea, but unfortunately Charlie Rose didn't come and interview me: This past Monday night, Warren Buffett told Rose his pick for Treasury Secretary would be JPMorgan Chase (JPM -1.48%) CEO Jamie Dimon. 

The guy for the job
Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B -0.81%), is an obviously smart man, as we think alike. Here's Buffett's case for Dimon for replacing outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner:

I think [Dimon] knows more about markets than probably anybody you could find in the world. And I think that if in the next four years we run into some kind of a chaos in markets some place -- and who knows when that can happen -- that he would think better about it, he would command the respect of foreign leaders that he might have to coordinate with. I just think he'd be the guy I'd pick for that job. 

And what of JPMorgan Chase?
Well put, Warren. I would add that Dimon is man of both intellectual and physical stature. He famously pulls no punches, and isn't easily intimidated. He's the kind of guy you want walking into a room full of ego-driven business leaders or politicians: someone who can stand his ground, but also keep an open mind. He reminds me a bit, in that sense, of George W. Bush's Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson, a former CEO of Goldman Sachs (GS 0.48%).

So far as I can tell, neither Jamie Dimon nor President Obama have made any comments in response to Buffet's call, nor have they had anything to say on the matter, period. The one concern I have with Dimon being Secretary of the Treasury is where it might leave JPMorgan Chase. Even bearing in mind the London Whale trading debacle, Dimon is still arguably the best risk manager in banking. JPMorgan came through the financial crisis in much better shape than many other banks due in large part to his skillful leadership, and I wonder what direction the bank would take sans Dimon.

That said, I'd still like to see Dimon at Treasury. I think the country could really use someone with his unique capabilities and experience there. But Charlie Rose still hasn't called.

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