Investors seek to split JPMorgan CEO, chairman

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 20, 2013 at 5:58 pm •  Published: February 20, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — A coalition of investors said Wednesday that it filed a shareowner proposal that would split the chairman and CEO roles held by James Dimon at JPMorgan Chase since 2006.

The group holds about $820 million in JPMorgan shares and includes the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan, the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, Hermes Equity Ownership Services and the NYC Pension Funds.

While a number of large U.S. companies combine the jobs of chairman and CEO, shareholders at a number of companies have pushed in recent years to separate them. Supporters argue that an independent chairman can provide a check on the CEO's power.

The shareowners' proposal comes in the wake of JPMorgan disclosing a $2 billion trading loss last May on Dimon's watch.

Shareholders will vote on the latest proposal at the company's annual meeting in May. Separating the roles of chairman and CEO has come up for a shareholder vote at the firm twice before, the first time with 12 percent in favor and last year with 40 percent support. Many of the votes last year were cast before the company revealed the huge trading loss.

The decision to jointly file the proposal reflects "mounting investor concerns" with the board's oversight in the wake of the loss and recently regulatory sanctions, the coalition said in a statement. The group also raised concerns about the company's failure to fully demonstrate that it can manage the size and complexity of its holdings.

A JPMorgan Chase & Co. spokesman declined to comment.

The company said in its most recent proxy statement that its board has "no established policy" on whether there should be a nonexecutive chairman and believes it is a decision best made on circumstances and experience. It also backed Dimon in his dual role and believes the company is functioning effectively under its current structure.

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