Another one stumbles…

May 11, 2012

Another one stumbles…

I have to say that the headline in today’s WSJ re the $2 billion trading loss at JPMorganChase strongly resonated with me. The title is “J.P. Morgan Trades in Its Crown.”  In our research on safeguarding reputation, we start out by summing up reputation failures among the world’s most admired this way:


“The last decade has seen many of the world’s most admired companies descend from their once lofty positions. They were in a class by themselves — corporate reputation royalty whose invincibility was universally accepted by business executives around the globe. No one could have predicted that these companies would ever part with their crowns. How the world has changed!”


It looks like we now have another major kingpin to add to our Weber Shandwick “stumble rate” analysis that we calculate every year. You can find more about it in an earlier post.  But…between 2011 and 2012, 49% of the world’s largest companies experienced a reputational stumble, up from last year’s 43% but exactly the same as 2010’s rate.  There seems to be no more untouchables among the Fortune 500 with this recent news.


I was also intrigued by Jamie Dimon’s remarks about what he could have done differently to have caught this $2 billion blunder earlier. Dimon’s deadpan answer was paying more attention to the “newspapers” among other things. He was referring to earlier reports in the papers about the trading problem. Have to hand it to him for taking the blame and being brutally honest in his response. He’s been true to his reputation on that count.

“In hindsight, the new strategy was flawed, complex, poorly reviewed, poorly executed and poorly monitored. The portfolio has proven to be riskier, more volatile and less effective an economic hedge than we thought.”

Another side note of interest is that this reputation crisis did not start in social media. It has certainly taken off online but as far as we know now, there’s been no social media assault that instigated this crisis. No online cloak and dagger here.

Will be interesting to see how this pans out reputation-wise. Will this tarnish the bank’s reputation for the long-term or just be a stain? No doubt it will be headline news for a while. Dimon is eminently quotable –the WSJ has his most notable quotes already listed. I hate to have to say it but another one hits the dust.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of corporate and CEO reputations.

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