Everyone was feeling a lot yesterday when JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon met with Bear Stearns executives to discuss the changes he’ll make when and if his takeover deal of the firm comes to fruition, and a lot of what they were feeling was anger. “I don’t think Bear did anything to deserve this,” Dimon told the group, according to the Times. “Our hearts go out to you.” This would, perhaps, have sounded more sincere had JP Morgan executives not already been up in Bear’s business all week, taking over their position on the trading floor and appropriating offices and making calls from the Bear building.
“In this room are people who have built this firm and lost a lot, our fortunes,” one Bear executive said to Mr. Dimon with anger in his voice. “What will you do to make us whole?”
The packed room of senior managing directors applauded.
Mr. Dimon responded gingerly. “You’re acting like it’s our fault, and it’s not. If you stay we will make you happy.”
But the Bear employee was not satisfied. “I think it’s galling you come into our house and you call this a ‘merger,’ ” the Bear executive went on.
But then Bear’s recently appointed CEO Alan D. Schwartz, who is now under investigation by both the SEC and the City of New York for saying, the week that Bear collapsed, that the firm had “no problems with liquidity,” at last managed to demonstrate some leadership. “We here are a collective victim of violence,” he said in cracking voice. “It’s natural to be angry, and you’re not sure who to be angry at. But we have to put it behind us.”
Let the healing begin.
Meet The New Boss [NYT]