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Opinion

JPMorgan: Culture shock

Klaus Diederichs has spent his entire career working at JPMorgan. When he started there in 1980, the firm was an afterthought in European investment banking.

Over the next 34 years, he helped to build the business into one of the top advisers in the region, most recently as chairman of investment banking. Right to the end, he was playing a crucial role in some of the trophy M&A transactions, such as the sale of Virgin Media to Liberty, our global M&A deal of the year.

So it was little wonder when, in January, he decided to retire that JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon sent out a memo to staff praising him as "one of the cornerstones" of its business in Europe.

If only the memo had stopped there. But it didn’t. Dimon went on: "We have been honoured to have someone like Klaus serve as a culture carrier for our firm."

In one sentence, Diederichs went from being a cornerstone to something that at best sounds like a yoghurt, and at worst an agent of biological warfare.

As one friend of Euromoney, who is a stickler for good language and grammar, wrote to us: "Culture carrier?! Is that some kind of in-house joke? Dear God. These people should not be allowed near the English language. The atrocities that they inflict on it, and the liberties they take with it, are quite obscene."

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