Board backs Dimon as CEO and chairman

April 6, 2013 at 11:05 AM
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NEW YORK, April 6 (UPI) -- Board members at JPMorgan Chase are urging shareholders to allow Chief Executive Jamie Dimon to remain as chairman, The New York Times reported.

The financial giant's directors have been setting up meetings with shareholder groups ahead of next month's annual stockholders' meeting to try to secure votes to support Dimon, who oversaw the bank while it suffered huge trading losses in short order just over a year ago, the Times said Saturday.

At last year's annual meeting, 40 percent of the shareholders voted to split Dimon's roles as chief executive officer and chairman -- a rare move for a large bank, where the top executive normally takes on both jobs, the Times said.

"If you separate the roles, there is another set of eyes and ears," said Michael Levine, a portfolio manager at OppenheimerFunds.

"That is not a bad thing, because there is more accountability," he said.

Company directors said in a proxy filling they stand behind the current structure.

"The board has determined that the most effective leadership model for the firm currently is that Mr. Dimon serves as both," the filing said.

A shareholder vote would not be binding, but it would send a clear message to the board that shareholders did not support Dimon.

The U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations issued as report in March saying JPMorgan Chase misled investors and regulators failed to act on warnings about trades that led to at least $6 billion in losses. The report concluded the institution ignored mounting risk associated with complex derivatives trades and took steps to mislead investors as losses mounted.

"We don't believe the person responsible for these costly mistakes should be overseeing reforms," said Denise Nappier, the Connecticut state treasurer and a supporter of a proposal filed by shareholders to put Dimon's job structure up for a vote.

Dimon's 2012 pay was slashed in half to $11.5 million after the trading debacle.

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