Jamie Dimon's Poker Face

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How you would react if your company was bleeding hundreds of millions of dollars a day and you had meetings with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Meet The Press?  Do what Jamie Dimon did: Just pretend everything's fine and above all, make sure your hoodie looks awesome. 

The Wall Street Journal's Monica Langley brings us the tick-tock of JPMorgan's $2 billion loss, with great scenes in boardrooms that show Dimon's furor, even the moment of reckoning when some poor underling had to hand Dimon the summaries and analyses of losses. Langley's sources say that Dimon was so angry/shocked/panicked that he couldn't breathe.

Langley's piece could make for a great screenplay in the spirit of Margin Call, but what grabbed us was that in the face of all this financial turmoil, Mr. Dimon did a great job of faking it. He had to, because to the rest of us (and Zuckerberg) he was the premier financial guru, not the dude who was losing hundreds of millions of dollars per day.

Mind you he was told of the losses on April 30. Per Langley:

On May 2, he attended a meeting at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he is a director, and the next day an economic conference hosted by the University of Rochester, a big banking customer.

On May 7, J.P. Morgan Vice Chairman James Lee pulled Mr. Dimon out of his war room for a meeting with Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg and his team. The bank is a lead underwriter for the social network's huge initial public offering. Mr. Dimon donned a jacket Mr. Lee had designed to mimic Mr. Zuckerberg's famous hoodie ...

On May 9, Mr. Dimon flew to Columbus, Ohio, for a long-planned bank event and then a taping of "Meet the Press." The host, David Gregory, wanted Mr. Dimon's perspective on the economy going into the election year. Mr. Dimon knew he couldn't reveal the bomb he was about to drop the next day. (He later retaped the segment after announcing the losses.)

For the rest of Langley's account, head on over to The Wall Street Journal.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.