Jamie Dimon as chairman and CEO: His own ‘yes man’?

David Gura May 21, 2013
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Jamie Dimon as chairman and CEO: His own ‘yes man’?

David Gura May 21, 2013
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JPMorgan Chase & Co. holds its annual meeting of shareholders today, in Tampa, Florida. Jamie Dimon heads the company — he is its chairman and CEO. Some investors say those two roles should be separate, especially since JPMorgan suffered a trading loss now valued at $6.2 billion. But shareholders have voted this morning to maintain Dimon’s role as both CEO and chairman of the bank.

Many analysts give Dimon a lot of credit for steering JPMorgan through the financial crisis to record profitability. Chris Wheeler, with Mediobanca, attributes Dimon’s success to his outsize personality and his autonomy.

“It does mean that he can really execute strategy in a fairly robust fashion,” Wheeler says.

Dimon, the CEO, has been able to make changes without worrying about having to get buy-in from another chairman. In other words, he is his own yes man.

Analyst Gerard Cassidy, with RBC Capital Markets, thinks the company wouldn’t change much if these two roles were separated.

“I think that, at the ground level, the changes would not be that noticeable,” he says.

But it would be a slap in the face to Dimon, which is something Chris Wheeler says would be disruptive — at least early on.

“The question is whether it is better for U.S. corporate governance longer term than it is disruptive in the short-term,” Wheeler poses.

Wheeler says it could change things in the industry. Right now, only three of the top 20 banks have separate roles for chairmen and CEO’s.

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