JPMorgan Chases Jamie Dimon Has Been the Best Big Bank CEO, Measured by Shareholder Returns

By John

Based on total shareholder returns, the best big bank CEO in the United States is JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon, who will celebrate his 10-year anniversary leading the nation's biggest bank at the end of this year.

Since Dimon assumed the helm at JPMorgan Chase, shares of the $2.4 trillion bank have returned a total of 119%, including dividends. That's more than any other current big bank CEO can claim, as you can see in the table below.

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Data source: Press releases from JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America.

Excluding Citigroup's Michael Corbat, who's been at the helm for the shortest amount of time, the runners-up were Wells Fargo's John Stumpf and Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein, who have produced total shareholder returns of 97% and 47%, respectively, since their promotions to CEO.

One thing Dimon has going for him is the fact that he also happens to be the industry's longest-serving big bank CEO, having held the position for 119 months and counting. Wells Fargo's Stumpf and Goldman Sachs' Blankfein, by contrast, have been in their positions for 102 and 114 months, respectively.

But far from taking away from Dimon's accomplishment, his comparatively long tenure as CEO of JPMorgan Chase makes his performance even more impressive. With the exception of Blankfein at Goldman Sachs, who assumed the CEO role five months after Dimon in 2006, the 59-year-old JPMorgan Chase chief is the only big bank CEO to have held the position through the crisis.

Data source: Yahoo! Finance. Chart by author.

Unlike most other big bank CEOs, in turn, Dimon can legitimately take credit for both helping JPMorgan Chase avoid the excesses that fueled the crisis and for positioning the bank to exploit its less prudent peers in the crisis's wake. The same is true for Blankfein at Goldman Sachs, but it's less so for Wells Fargo's Stumpf, who didn't become CEO until June 2007, presumably after the precrisis positioning was a foregone conclusion.

In sum, despite the challenges facing the nation's biggest bank over the past decade -- and there have been many, from the crisis itself, to Occupy Wall Street's general opposition toward too-big-to-fail banks, to JPMorgan's $6 billion-plus 2012 trading debacle -- its CEO Jamie Dimon has found a way to turn lemons into lemonade.

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John Maxfield has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool has the following options: short January 2016 $52 puts on Wells Fargo. The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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