News Column

Dimon Still in Rough but May Soon Be Clear

May 17, 2013

Mark DeCambre

Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan (photo: Steve Jurvetson, Creative Commons)
Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan (photo: Steve Jurvetson, Creative Commons)

Jamie Dimon has a message for his critics: Don't bank on it.

While a symbolic shareholder vote on whether to separate the JPMorgan chairman and CEO roles is sure to be close, there are growing signs that the bank boss will hang on to both jobs.

For one, Dimon has been gaining the support of major institutional investors in recent weeks, including T. Rowe Price, which owns 14 million JPMorgan shares.

"I fully support the combined chairman and CEO role at JPMorgan under the superb leadership of Jamie Dimon," T. Rowe portfolio manager Brian Rogers said in a statement yesterday.

JPMorgan's five biggest shareholders are also likely to vote in favor of the company's management, as they did last year when a similar proposal came up for a vote.

JPMorgan has been aggressively lobbying shareholders to vote against a split.

Activist investors run the risk Dimon will call their bluff. He has indicated to some shareholders and insiders that he will quit if he loses some of his power.

That is a scary proposition for investors who have enjoyed record earnings and a rising stock price with Dimon at the helm.

JPMorgan's shares, which closed yesterday at $50.97, have outperformed those of their peers and are nearing pre-crisis levels.

If Dimon does bolt, there's also the lack of an obvious successor. The management shake-up following the "London Whale" trading debacle emptied the executive bench.

As a result, Dimon doesn't have a game-ready replacement unless shareholders are ready to hand the keys to the 42-year-old COO Matt Zames.

Originally published by Mark DeCambre.

(c) 2013 The New York Post. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.

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