Wall Street has watched the spread in performance of the two banks ever since. JPMorgan's stock is down 30% since the merger with Bank One on Jan. 15, 2004, while Citi's stock is down 92%.

The reasons for corporate blow-ups are never simple; it's usually true that every employee is replaceable. However, Citi has never been the same company since Dimon was pushed out.

Even a decade ago, most knowledgeable observers knew Dimon was going to be a special CEO one day. Sallie Krawcheck (who was a Citi analyst at the time) said back then: "Investors are asking two questions: What should I do with my Citigroup shares and where is Jamie going next so that I can buy the stock?''

Dimon had been a longtime protégé of Sandy Weill's. After graduating from Harvard Business School in 1982, Dimon turned down a job offer from Goldman Sachs ( GS) to go and work for Weill, whom he knew through his father. Over the next 15 years, the two built an empire: Commerical Credit, Primerica, Travelers and Citi.

But in late 1998, after announcing the biggest merger ever, Weill and Dimon sparred over Weill's daughter, Jessica Bibliowicz. Dimon refused to give Bibliowicz the job of chief asset manager of Travelers, as Weill demanded. What's more, Dimon also wouldn't agree to promote Weill's son, Marc, to head up Salomon's bond group. Weill demanded that Dimon resign.

Jessica went on to run National Financial Partners ( NFP), a $100 million financial advisor that has seen its stock swoon by 93% in the past year as Barron's has written negatively about its future prospects. Having left Citi in 2000, Marc now heads a small money management firm in Greenwich, Conn., called City Light Capital.

All the World's a Stage

The Shakespearean similarities between what happened with Weill and Dimon are uncanny. Jaime Dimon was the Earl of Kent challenging King Lear and Weill sided with blood over an adopted son.

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