Until Ina Drew took the fall for JPMorgan Chase’s $6 billion trading disaster earlier this year, “almost no one outside of Wall Street had heard of her,” said Susan Dominus in The New York Times Magazine. Before she was forced out in May, she quietly oversaw an astonishing $350 billion as the bank’s chief investment officer. Drew had steadily climbed the ranks of the “Wall Street boys’ club” for three decades, ascending to “a level of power and wealth that few women” in finance have attained. But while she was known to have a deep knowledge of the market and a great “gut instinct” for the bigger economic picture, Drew seemed oddly out of her depth as her unit’s positions grew more and more complex. Ultimately, she proved unable to effectively manage the quants running the risky trades that unraveled, or to contain the wider damage to the bank.
There’s no doubt that Drew was a “highly competent and highly successful trader,” said Felix Salmon in Reuters.com. But over time, her job “changed both qualitatively and quantitatively from the job she had proven herself good at.” That’s hardly her fault. So “if there’s a villain in this story,” it’s her boss, Jamie Dimon. “The buck stops with him, and yet he’s somehow emerged largely unscathed.”