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The Dimon-Welch Comparison: CEO Daily

October 4, 2019, 9:03 AM UTC

Good morning.

It’s Friday, so time for some feedback, of which I got plenty on my post suggesting JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has become the new Jack Welch.

A few respondents accepted my characterization, like L.T.:

“Jamie Dimon is most definitely the Welch of today…great piece!”

But because CEO Daily readers are an opinionated lot, most took issue with it, in one way or another. Some were Welch detractors, like D.L.:

“Referring to Jamie Dimon as the next Jack Welch is a serious disservice to Mr. Dimon. The cracks in the GE foundation that ultimately crumbled during Jeff Immelt’s tenure were already beginning, and in fact caused by many of Welch’s actions.”

Others took shots at Dimon, like J.S. and D.K below:

“Let’s remember JPMC’s role in the mortgage meltdown. I think they paid the largest fines of any of the banks, although they were better capitalized, so looked better than some of their peers….And the bank is the biggest financier of fossil fuel industry.”

“Presumably you read the WSJ piece about Dimon’s ties to and enabling of Adam Neumann. For me and many I know, that set of events, and even JPMC’s very willingness to underwrite the nearly-fraudulent WeWork IPO, has permanently sullied our formerly great respect for Dimon.”

And then there was this important point courtesy of L.G., who noted the Welch CEO factory was all male:

“The Jack Welch for the 21st century will need to be known for grooming female CEOs, too. Jamie is already doing this in his large and often little discussed stable of high-level female leaders, many in the C suite already. “

And H.C. saved his highest praise for the new Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf, whose appointment was the trigger for the post:

“Each Welch mentee had to stand on his own. Few covered themselves with glory. Scharf’s post-Dimon career has been stellar (Visa, BNYMellon). Wells Fargo shareholders, employees and customers just hope his luck doesn’t run out.”

More news below.

Alan Murray
alan.murray@fortune.com
@alansmurray

TOP NEWS

BP CEO

BP chief Bob Dudley is to step down in early February, a decade after he took over the oil giant in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Chairman Helge Lund: "During his tenure he has led the recovery from the Deepwater Horizon accident, rebuilt BP as a stronger, safer company and helped it re-earn its position as one of the leaders of the energy sector." Dudley's replacement will be Bernard Looney, the current CEO of BP's upstream segment. Wall Street Journal

No Apple Coin

Apple CEO Tim Cook is not in favor of his company setting up a cryptocurrency in order to compete against Facebook's Libra project. Asked by French media about the idea, he responded: "I really think that a currency should stay in the hands of countries…A private company shouldn’t be looking to gain power this way…We elect our representatives to assume their governmental responsibilities. Companies aren't elected and should not be going in this direction." Reuters

Facebook Encryption

The U.S. Justice Department is making yet another attempt to have Big Tech place security holes in the secure-messaging services they offer users. This time the target is Facebook; Attorney General William Barr wants the firm to give investigators access to encrypted WhatsApp messages. As always, the problem is that the service providers do not themselves have this access—a deliberate choice meant to enhance privacy and security. New York Times

Airbnb IPO

Airbnb has just launched an "Animal Experiences" marketplace that features everything from urban beekeeping to corgi paddleboarding, and CEO Brian Chesky told Fortune that the move is meaningful for the firm's IPO plans. How so? Creating distinct Experiences categories could help boost profit margins and help Airbnb grow beyond the core property-rental service that attracts so much unwelcome regulatory scrutiny. Fortune

AROUND THE WATER COOLER

Ukraine Scandal

The latest developments in the snowballing Ukraine scandal: President Trump has openly admitted asking Ukraine's president to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden; he has publicly asked China to do the same; and it turns out he ordered the removal of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine because she represented an obstacle to getting the inquiry he wanted. Washington Post

WeWork Layoffs

WeWork is likely to lay off around 16% of its global workforce as early as this month, the office-space company told employees yesterday. It has promised to exercise the cuts "humanely," which presumably means that—this time—the firm's remaining workers won't be surprised with tequila shots and a rap performance after discussing their colleagues' departure. Fortune

Tariff Effects

The BBC has an interesting piece on possible victims of the U.S. tariffs on various EU goods, which will soon be levied as punishment over illegal Airbus subsidies. "It's about aircraft and it is nothing to do with us or Scotch whisky consumers," said Speyside Distillers MD Patricia Dillon, who warned her company was now reconsidering its U.S. expansion plans. BBC

Musk's P.I.

After Elon Musk decided to publicly label a British cave diver as a pedophile, thus earning a defamation suit, the Tesla CEO hired a private investigator to try digging up dirt on the man. Turns out the investigator, James Howard-Higgins—who cold-emailed Musk to offer the probe—is a convicted fraudster. Buzzfeed News

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer. Find previous editions here, and sign up for other Fortune newsletters here.