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The 10 stages of Jamie Dimon's blubbering London Whale grief

April 11, 2013: 3:21 PM ET

How Wall Street's most outspoken CEO publicly dealt with one of the largest trading losses in history.

FORTUNE -- It's been just over a year since the news started to emerge that a trader in JPMorgan Chase's London office had taken a huge bet on credit derivatives. It's nearly a year since Jamie Dimon began apologizing for it.

And while Dimon has definitely lived up to his reputation as Wall Street's most outspoken CEO in the past year, he hasn't always come off as apologetic for the $6.2 billion loss.

He triumphantly said the Whale had been "harpooned" last summer. He also predicted no one would be talking about the loss, one of the largest in Wall Street history, a year later. Neither of those things has turned out to be true. Earlier this year, he told an audience at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos that while his bank had made a mistake, it also had a really profitable 2012, so, you know, "life goes on."

On Wednesday, Dimon apologized again, this time in his annual letter to shareholders. In recent years, Dimon has used the letter to rail against regulators. This year, his usual combativeness was all but gone. He even said he had let regulators down.

So while Dimon, as we said before, isn't exactly like the rest of us -- he's much, much richer -- his statements in the past year in the wake of the Whale have somewhat knocked him off his Wall Street perch. Here are some of Dimon's best lines on the trading loss set, as best we could, to the classic stages of grief:

Denial

In a April 2012 conference call with investors reacting to the initial reports of the London Whale: "It's a tempest in a teapot."

Shock

From the May 2012 conference when Dimon first admitted that the bank had indeed lost a lot of money: "[It] plays right into the hands of a whole bunch of pundits out there ... These were grievous mistakes, they were self-inflicted."

(Near) Acceptance

On Meet the Press in May 2012: "We made a terrible, egregious mistake ... There's almost no excuse for it."

Except of course:

(Stage two) Denial

jamie_dimon_testimonyIn testimony in front of Congress in June 2012: "We will not make light of these losses, but they should be put into perspective ... no client, customer, or taxpayer money was impacted by this incident."

Denial (again)

jamie-dimon

At an investor conference in late May 2012: "[It was] an isolated event ... something we don't have to talk about by the end of the year."

Anger

jamie-dimon-2

Responding to Q&As from a group of summer interns in August 2012: "I want you to know the London Whale issue is dead. The Whale has been harpooned. Dessicated. Cremated. I am going to bury its ashes all over."

Denial (stage three)

Jamie Dimon

In October 2012 speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations: "We made a stupid error. Businesses make mistakes, they learn from it and get better. Only when I come to Washington do people act like making a mistake should never happen. Only with academics and politicians is it not allowed."

Bargaining

davos-jamie-dimon

In January, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos: "I mean, if you're a shareholder might I apologize deeply. But we did have record results, and life goes on."

Grieving

jamie-dimon-3

At an investor conference in January: "They are going to attack me, they are going to attack the company. I'm off my high-holy horse ... It is what it is, don't worry about it."

Acceptance

jamie-dimon-happy

From Dimon's 2013 annual letter to shareholders, released on Wednesday: "The London Whale was the stupidest and most embarrassing situation I have ever been a part of."

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About This Author
Stephen Gandel
Stephen Gandel

Stephen Gandel has covered Wall Street and investing for over 15 years. He joins Fortune from sister publication TIME, where he was a senior business writer and lead blogger for The Curious Capitalist. He has also held positions at Money and Crain's New York Business. Stephen is a four-time winner of the Henry R. Luce Award. His work has also been recognized by the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the New York State Society of CPA and the Association of Area Business Publications. He is a graduate of Washington University, and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.

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