Dimon seen keeping chairman, CEO roles in preliminary voting

Maintaining Pressure

Bruno Iksil, the trader who made the bets, was nicknamed the London Whale because his positions were so big.

The AFSCME Employees Pension Plan, which was among investors sponsoring the proposal, will keep pressing the bank for a more independent chairman if this year’s measure is rejected, said Lisa Lindsley, director of capital strategies for the Washington-based union.

“We do not see this measure as a panacea, but rather a badly needed first step to strengthen the board,” Lindsley told Dimon at today’s meeting. She criticized the bank’s succession planning and said AFSCME’s proposal wasn’t a referendum on Dimon’s leadership. “No one person should be indispensable,” she said.

JPMorgan could give more authority to Raymond, the former chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., or agree to split the roles in the future, after Dimon leaves, according to a person with knowledge of the firm’s deliberations.

BofA Precedent

The last time shareholders of a large U.S. bank voted for divided oversight was in April 2009, when Bank of America Corp. investors stripped the title of chairman from CEO Kenneth Lewis in a rebellion against management’s handling of the firm’s takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co.

Lloyd C. Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., avoided a similar vote on his firm’s proxy statement this year by agreeing with shareholder advisory firm CtW Investment Group to expand the duties of lead independent director James Schiro.

Dimon received backing from investors including Home Depot Inc. founder Ken Langone, who called the banker the “finest” CEO in the U.S., and billionaire Warren Buffett, the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chairman and CEO who has described Dimon’s annual letter to shareholders as a must-read.

Bloomberg News

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