Make us your home page

Shareholders reject splitting CEO/chairman roles at JPMorgan Chase meeting in Tampa

JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon remains chairman and CEO.

JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon remains chairman and CEO.

TAMPA — National media who cover the financial markets' epicenter in New York descended on JPMorgan Chase's annual meeting Tuesday in Tampa in search of a great shareholder showdown. A dozen security officers checked and rechecked cars entering the company's east Tampa office park.

It was billed as a pivotal moment in corporate governance, one that could set a precedent for going toe-to-toe with the most powerful chieftains on Wall Street.

Instead, it fizzled into a nonevent.

Unlike previous meetings, there were no organized protests outside and few surprises inside the two-plus-hour event. And, for JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, arguably the most powerful banker in the country, there was no need to worry.

A much-hyped motion to force Dimon to give up his title as board chairman garnered only 32 percent of the vote, far shy of what many were predicting and even less than the 40 percent the measure drew last year.

"I was a little bit surprised it didn't get a higher vote … but a third of shareholders (in support) isn't insignificant," said Lisa Lindsley of the AFSCME union, which introduced the motion to split chairman and CEO duties. It was an uphill fight, Lindsley indicated, considering "the resources and pressures that the management and the board of JP­Morgan brought to bear on shareholders and really pulling out all the stops in terms of political pressures and business relationships."

Activists have tried to get Dimon to give up the dual role four times before. But this year was different. Dimon's reputation as a Wall Street wunderkind took a hit after a massive trading blunder. Dimon on Tuesday apologized once more to shareholders for lack of oversight of a Chase trader known as the "London Whale," whose bad bets cost the bank more than $6 billion.

But Dimon insisted the company should not be defined by that loss but rather how as a financial titan with $2.4 trillion in assets it has performed overall. The megabank reported record profits for the third consecutive year, along with rising stock prices. While the meeting was under way, JPMorgan stock was trading above $53 a share, its highest level since 2007.

The JPMorgan Chase board, arguing against the proposal, has said that the company already ensures oversight through the rotating appointment of a presiding director. Other than Dimon, all other directors are independent, including the current presiding director, retired Exxon Mobil chairman and CEO Lee Raymond.

Raymond rebuffed criticism that he and other board directors aren't willing to challenge Dimon. "You don't get to (these) leadership positions by being a wallflower," he said.

Raymond called finding a successor for the 57-year-old Dimon a top priority, one given even more importance following some recent departures in upper management. He gave no timetable for succession, however, saying only, "I hope that time is much in the future. … I have no illusion we will be able to clone Jamie."

More than 20 shareholders spoke, many critical of Chase on a wide range of topics: mortgage foreclosure abuses; investing in companies that help fund genocide; the meltdown of the auction rate securities market; Chase's refusal to say how it spends its lobbying dollars.

Chase was slow to build a presence in Florida consumer banking until it bought Washington Mutual's branch network in 2008. Chase has since grown to about 340 branches statewide with more than 17,000 employees in Florida.

Shareholders reject splitting CEO/chairman roles at JPMorgan Chase meeting in Tampa 05/21/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 7:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Unlicensed contractor accused of faking death triggers policy change at Pinellas construction licensing board

    Local Government

    The unlicensed contractor accused of faking his death to avoid angry homeowners has triggered an immediate change in policy at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. SeaWorld shares drop Monday to 2017 low after disclosure of federal subpoena


    The Orlando parent company of SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks saw its stock drop 3.5 percent Monday to $15.10, its lowest price of this year.

    Killer whales perform at Shamu Stadium at SeaWorld in Orlando in 2011, before public pressure was placed on the theme park company to curtail its orca shows.SeaWorld has since announced an end to the traditional killer whale entertainment  at its theme parks. [AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack]
  3. Rick Scott appoints longtime ally Jimmy Patronis as Florida CFO

    State Roundup
    Rick Scott appoints Jimmy Patronis (background) as CFO. [STEVE BOUSQUET | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Local gas prices plummet as Fourth of July holiday travel approaches


    TAMPA — Local gas prices are enjoying an unseasonal dip around the $2 mark just in time for the hectic Fourth of July holiday travel weekend.

    The price of regular unleaded gasoline has dropped to $1.99 at a Rally station on Pasadena Ave. South and Gulfport Boulevard South, South Pasadena.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Air bag recalls, lawsuits lead Takata to file for bankruptcy


    Shattered by recall costs and lawsuits, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. filed Monday for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., saying it was the only way it could keep on supplying replacements for faulty air bag inflators linked to the deaths of at least 16 people.

    Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. CEO Shigehisa Takada bows during a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of defective air bag inflators.
[(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]