JPMorgan Chase shareholders voted to let Jamie Dimon keep both his chairman and CEO roles Tuesday, The New York Times is reporting.
In the wake of the London Whale trading loss, which cost the bank billions of dollars, shareholder groups began calling for the bank to strip Dimon of his chairman role and give it to a non-bank employee. They argued that the move would install more checks and balances on Dimon and other JPMorgan executives.
Dimon and JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, have fought vigorously in recent weeks to defeat this movement, and they appear to have succeeded, based on preliminary tallies. Several embattled board members also appear to have kept their jobs, according to the NYT. CNBC has reported similar results.
Shareholders are meeting in Tampa on Tuesday to consider relieving Dimon of his chairmanship and a board shakeup, among other proposals. Not all have voted yet, so the outcome is still uncertain. Last year, 40 percent of JPMorgan shareholders voted to separate the chairman and CEO titles, and this year's tally could be higher. As the NYT notes, a higher vote against Dimon would be seen as a rebuke.
Dimon reportedly wants to keep both jobs and has threatened to leave if he loses one of them. The bank, and the board, have taken his side. They have enlisted the help of other CEOs, including Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, and several more who were quoted in a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story, "Dimon Is Forever: Why Jamie Dimon Is Wall Street's Indispensable Man."
Dimon's defenders argue that he led the bank successfully through the financial crisis and has continued to guide it to record profits despite a sluggish economy. They point to research suggesting that splitting the chairman and CEO jobs doesn't necessarily improve stock performance. They also note that other companies with split roles have gotten themselves into trouble, most notably Enron.
Dimon's detractors point out that the chairman and CEO roles are very different and that a sprawling bank like JPMorgan needs more oversight. The London Whale debacle was an example of a troubling breakdown in risk management, and the bank has become ensnared in numerous regulatory problems in recent years, a blow to its reputation.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.