CHICAGO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co, on Wednesday said he expects to see a new U.S. president in 2021 and advised the Democratic party to come up with a “pro-free enterprise” agenda for jobs and economic growth instead.
Asked at a luncheon hosted by The Economic Club of Chicago how many years Republican President Donald Trump will be in office, Dimon said, “If I had to bet, I’d bet three and half. But the Democrats have to come up with a reasonable candidate ... or Trump will win again.”
Dimon, who in the past has described himself as “barely” a Democrat, has been going to Washington more often since the 2016 elections to lobby lawmakers on issues including changes in corporate taxes, immigration policies and mortgage finance.
In December, Dimon became chairman of the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs who take their views to government policymakers.
Dimon, 61, touched on wide range of topics, from America’s political climate to racial discrimination to the effects of the U.K. leaving the European Union.
He also commented on foreign affairs, saying, for example, “We should never be rude to a neighbor like Mexico” and cautioning that the political weakness of German Chancellor Angela Merkel “is bad for all of us.” Talks on forming a governing coalition including Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union collapsed earlier this week, casting doubt on her future after 12 years in power.
Dimon spoke for several minutes about discrimination over gender and race which he said is not acknowledged enough in the United States.
“If you’re white, paint yourself black and walk down the street one day, and you’ll probably have a little more empathy for how some of these folks get treated,” Dimon said. “We need to make a special effort because this is a special problem.”
Dimon gave his own bank a mixed review on diversity. His direct reports include people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), and half are women as are 30 percent of the top 200 JPMorgan executives, he said.
Now in his 12th year as JPMorgan’s CEO, Dimon also reflected a bit on his own role.
“I basically love my job,” Dimon said. “I mean, it’s tiring; it’s exhausting. I have to go down to Washington all the time and it’s a big pain in the ass, but I basically love my job.”
Reporting by Richa Naidu in Chicago and David Henry in New York. Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Clive McKeef