JPMorgan Chase headquarters in New York City.
(image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Chase execs probably thought they were going to be inundated with questions, like, "What steps can I take to try to become as totally awesome as all of you?" This one can infer from the self-satisfied language of their announcing Tweet, which read:
What career advice would you ask a leading exec at a global firm? Tweet a Q using #AskJPM. On 11/14 a $JPM leader takes over @JPMorgan
Only on Wall Street would a bank that's about to pay out the biggest settlement in the history of settlements un-ironically engage the public, expecting ordinary people to sincerely ask one of their top-decision makers for career advice. The notion that this was their idea of reaching out to the public in a moment of public relations crisis -- we'll take questions now on how you can become just as successful as us! -- was doomed to be hilarious, and it turned out to be that and more.
Chase trotted out Vice Chairman Jimmy Lee to be pushed into the social media buzz-saw. Lee was an excellent choice for this role. As one of the world's leading Leveraged Buyout (LBO) pioneers, Lee is a human bridge symbolically connecting two different and equally loathsome eras in Wall Street iniquity -- the Gordon Gekko/LBO Eighties and Nineties, and the price-rigging, bubble-making, steal-everything-not-nailed-down era covering the Wall Street of today. From the public's perspective, Lee basically represents the banker who foreclosed on your house and the guy who liquidated your factory in a deal financed by junk bonds, all in one.
Unsurprisingly, the public barraged him with abusive Tweets, and the bank ultimately had to cancel the Q&A.