Dimon seen keeping chairman, CEO roles in preliminary voting

JPMorgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon JPMorgan Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon won approval from investors to keep his chairman title in preliminary voting ahead of today’s shareholder meeting, according to two people with knowledge of the tallies.

Still, Dimon was on track to get less support for retaining the dual roles than at last year’s meeting, when 40% of shareholders favored an independent chairman, the people said, requesting anonymity because the count isn’t public. The outcome could change as final ballots are cast today. Joe Evangelisti, a spokesman for the New York-based lender, declined to comment on the results.

Calls for Dimon, 57, to cede the chairmanship and for JPMorgan to oust some board members have mounted since last May, when the firm disclosed lapses at its chief investment office that led to more than $6.2 billion in losses. Regardless of whether those efforts succeed, the board will need to address investor concerns, said Michael Mayo, an analyst at CLSA Ltd.

“JPMorgan changes after this annual-meeting season, even if all the votes go in the direction” its leaders wanted, Mayo told Bloomberg Television’s Erik Schatzker. The firm will probably overhaul its risk committee and designate a new lead director, a post currently held by Lee R. Raymond, 74, Mayo said. It also may bolster succession planning.

Risk Committee

“The last seven years have been great for Jamie Dimon -- my question is, what about the next seven years?” Mayo said. “The bigger issue at JPMorgan is key-man risk” and whether the board has someone who can step into Dimon’s shoes.

A majority of preliminary ballots supported three members of the board’s risk committee who were singled out for removal by shareholder adviser Institutional Shareholder Services, according to the New York Times, which reported the backing for Dimon earlier today. Among them, Ellen Futter received the least support, the newspaper said. She isn’t present at today’s meeting in Tampa, Florida, where results will be announced.

A vote to back Dimon, who’s credited with guiding JPMorgan to three straight years of record profit, would be a defeat for investors who say companies need separate chairmen to balance leadership and provide additional oversight. The proposal at JPMorgan gained momentum as the board blamed the so-called London Whale trading loss partly on Dimon in a January report while cutting his pay 50%.

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