Jamie Dimon's Senate Testimony Puts Career On Line

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All the sources interviewed for this story dismissed the suggestion that Dimon has enjoyed a charmed career, noting that he's taken his share of lumps. "I wouldn't say it's been charmed," says his 1990s co-worker. "His relationship with Sandy Weil was not smooth sailing. Very soon after Jamie began to rise, Sandy viewed him as a threat."

Dimon in 1998 was fired by his former mentor. "Fired summarily," corrects his former advisor. "He went through a very difficult time after that. But he used to tell me, you're not defined by how you behave on your way up but on how you behave on your way down. You're defined by how you handle failure."

As for how Dimon will now address JPMorgan's problems, biographer Crisafulli points to how Dimon dealt with a previous financial crisis at Banc One: "He recognized the problems and addressed them; he got to the bottom of it, and he brought about a positive result."

"His instincts are good," says his one-time advisor. Corny as it may sound, she says, Dimon has "an intense desire to do the right thing for his country, for his company and for the people who work for it--in that order. At the end of the day, he will do what he believes is the right thing to do."

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