- JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon says the secret to his successful career was putting family first and taking care of his well-being outside of work.
- "I've always said family first, country second, JPMorgan literally last," the CEO tells CNBC.
- Dimon said the worst time of his life was the weekend Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008.
Dimon, speaking in a wide-ranging interview with CNBC on Tuesday, said when his parents passed away recently, he relied on the support of close family members.
"I always tell people at JPMorgan Chase: You've got to take care of your friends, your family, your spirit, your mind, your body, your soul, otherwise you won't have a fulfilling life, and those are important," Dimon said on CNBC's "Squawk Alley."
"Without your family and the support of your family and what you learn from them in the good times and the tough times ... you may not have a great life," he added.
Dimon, a graduate of Harvard Business School, became chief executive of the world's most valuable bank by market capitalization in 2005. He previously served as CEO of Bank One before JPMorgan bought it in July 2004.
In 1998, Dimon was fired by former Citigroup chairman and CEO Sandy Weill, abruptly ending a 15-year partnership that saw them build a financial services empire like no other at the time.
Dimon said the worst time of his life was the weekend Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008, an event which intensified the global financial crisis.
"I called up my management team and my board of directors, both on Friday night and Saturday night the weekend that Lehman is going bankrupt, and told them that you were going to have the worst, scariest week that you've ever seen in the financial markets or the financial system in the United States and that JPMorgan will do everything we can to help our country," Dimon said.
"People would expect me to say the 'London Whale' [was the worst]. Not even close," he said.
In 2012, JPMorgan derivatives traders Javier Martin-Artajo and Julien Grout were accused of hiding hundreds of millions of dollars of losses within JPMorgan's chief investment office in London by marking positions in a credit derivatives portfolio at inflated prices. The U.S. charged the traders but later decided to drop it. The "London Whale" case lost JPMorgan nearly $6.2 billion.
"It was painful for the company, and I was quite worried about that because it hurts the people in the company. We are flesh and blood," he said.
Dimon said he enjoys his work, that it's important in having a fulfilling life.
"I've always said family first, country second, JPMorgan literally last," Dimon said. "JPMorgan is the best I can do for my country. And my family — I spend a lot of time with them."