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JPMorgan Chase's Dimon survives pay, chairmanship votes (+video)

JPMorgan Chase shareholders voted Tuesday at the bank's annual meeting to keep CEO Jamie Dimon in his role as chairman of the board, in addition to his pay package.

By Pallavi Gogoi and Tamara LushAssociated Press / May 15, 2012

In this file photo, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, center, flanked by Goldman Sachs & Co. Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Lloyd C. Blankfein, left, and Bank of New York Mellon Chairman Chief Executive Officer Robert Kelly, are seen on Capitol Hill in Washington during a House Financial Services Committee hearing.

Lawrence Jackson/AP/File

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Tampa, Florida

The CEO of JPMorgan Chase survived a shareholder push Tuesday to strip him of the title of chairman of the board, five days after he disclosed a $2 billion trading loss by the bank.

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CEO Jamie Dimon also won a shareholder endorsement of his pay package from last year, which totaled $23 million, according to an Associated Press analysis of regulatory filings.

Dimon, unusually subdued, told shareholders at the JPMorgan annual meeting that the company's mistakes were "self-inflicted." Speaking with reporters later, he added: "The buck always stops with me."

Most of the shareholder ballots were cast in the weeks before Dimon revealed the trading loss.

His pay package passed with 91 percent of the vote. The vote to strip him of the chairman's title won only 40 percent support. The bank did not announce separate results from before and after the loss was revealed.

Dimon was confronted at the meeting by shareholders upset about the trading loss, which has rattled investor confidence in the bank and complicated JPMorgan's efforts to fight tougher regulation of Wall Street.

Rev. Seamus Finn, representing shareholders from the Catholic organization Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, said that investors had heard Dimon apologize before for the foreclosure crisis and other problems.

"We heard the same refrain: We have learned from our mistakes. This will never be allowed to happen again," Finn said. "I can't help wondering if you are listening."

Lisa Lindsley, director of capital strategies for an influential union of public employees that is also a major JPMorgan shareholder, said independent board leadership was in shareholders' best interest.

"An all-powerful CEO is his own boss," she said. "Looking for an infallible CEO is a fool's errand."

Most large American companies combine the jobs of chairman and CEO, but shareholders have pushed in recent years to separate them. About one in five Standard & Poor's 500 companies separate the jobs.

Supporters argue that an independent chairman can provide a check on the CEO's power. Shareholders also frequently push for separation at turbulent times for a company.

In JPMorgan's case, the move to separate the jobs was put on the ballot before the $2 billion loss was unearthed. It was also on the ballot last year, but it received far less support then, 12 percent.

JPMorgan stock climbed throughout the morning and was up 3 percent by midday, on a day when the broader stock market was up only slightly. Investors pummeled JPMorgan stock in the first two trading days after the loss was revealed, driving it down 12 percent and wiping out almost $20 billion in market value.

Dimon said he did not expect the trading loss to jeopardize JPMorgan's quarterly stock dividend, which is 30 cents per share.

A law enforcement official said that the FBI's New York office is heading an inquiry by the Justice Department into the JPMorgan loss. The official, who was not authorized to speak about the decision, spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official characterized the inquiry as preliminary.

There was a heavy police presence at the meeting, in an office park east of downtown Tampa. Protesters were there as well, including some who threw eggs at a poster with Dimon's picture on it.

"We wanted to let Jamie Dimon know how we feel about what big banks have done to our economy," said Marilyn Lyday, a member of the protest group Occupy Orlando.

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