Victory for Dimon as JPMorgan Shareholders Reject CEO-Chairman Split

From Bloomberg
By Dawn Kopecki & Hugh Son
May 22, 2013

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon won more investor support this year than in 2012 to remain chairman, weathering a push to divide the roles after the largest U.S. bank suffered a record trading loss.

The proposal to split the duties drew 32 percent of votes, down from 40 percent last year, the lender said yesterday at its annual meeting in Tampa, Florida. The result ends a threat that Dimon might quit and JPMorgan led gains in bank shares, rising 1.4 percent in New York to close at a six-year high.

The vote to back Dimon, 57, who guided JPMorgan through the financial crisis and three straight years of record profit, is a defeat for investors who say companies are better served when they have a separate chairman and CEO. While he keeps both jobs, the vote may spur JPMorgan’s directors to identify a successor and tighten how the board oversees risk after last year’s $6.2 billion “London Whale” trading loss…

Resignation Threat

Dimon, who has held both positions since chairman William B. Harrison stepped down in 2006, solidified his position atop the bank that he molded into the country’s largest with $2.4 trillion in assets. He had told some investors he might resign if the non-binding measure to split his duties passed, according to a person with knowledge of the conversation.

Chief Operating Officer Matt Zames, 42, was promoted at least twice since Dimon tapped the former co-head of fixed income to take on more responsibilities. Other executives once seen as potential successors to Dimon, including Frank Bisignano and James E. Staley, have departed in the past year.

“There’s a big gap between Dimon and whoever his successor is,” said Mark Williams, a former Federal Reserve bank examiner who teaches risk management at Boston University. “One way of assuring job security is to make sure there’s not a viable No. 2.”

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