Even on his good days, Charlie Gasparino has never been one to load down his reporting with a lot of pesky details like names of sources, attributed quotes, or even many hard facts. That’s our Charlie! But even by those Gasparinian standards, his piece in today’s New York Post, which says Jamie Dimon is considering leaving JPMorgan Chase if shareholders vote to split the CEOs and chairman’s roles, is a veritable clean room of fact-free reportage. It’s basically 800 words of nothing.
That’s too bad. For if what Gasparino says is true-that Jamie really might bolt Morgan if he’s stripped of the chairmanship-shareholders would want to know. It’s one thing to show Morgan that you mean business as a fiduciary by casting some sort of symbolic vote for “good governance.” But it’s another thing entirely to risk ticking off arguably the ablest CEO in the business to the point that he might take a walk. Shareholders are right to worry Jamie might leave if the vote doesn’t go his way. As to any actual evidence that might happen, Gasparino provides exactly none. And by none, I’m mean zero: he couldn’t even coax a single blind quote from the various “insiders,” “friends,” and “people who know” Jamie that he says he talked to. None of what Gasparino has to say even rises to the level of gossip. I’m not quite sure why he wrote the piece in the first place.
P.S. While I’m on the topic, Gasparino’s assertion that if Jamie leaves Morgan the bank might run the risk of outright collapse, just as AIG imploded following Hank Greenberg’s departure there, would be irresponsible if it weren’t so ludicrous. JPMorgan is a bank, and is regulated like one-which is to say, comprehensively and (especially lately) with a heavy hand. AIG is an insurer. It simply doesn’t get the level of scrutiny from regulators that banks do-which is one reason why problems cropped up there in the first place. Normally, idle speculation about possible insolvency of a major financial is considered a big no-no in financial-journalism circles, but in this case it’s so idiotic on its face I’m sure no one will take it seriously.
What do you think? Let me know!