Dimon Keeps JPMorgan Chairman Title After Bruising Battle

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Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase & Co's outspoken chairman and chief executive, won a vote of confidence on Tuesday as shareholders decided to let him keep his chairman title by an even greater margin than last year.

Jamie Dimon

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase & Co's outspoken chairman and chief executive, won a vote of confidence on Tuesday as shareholders decided to let him keep his chairman title by an even greater margin than last year.

Dimon could not claim total victory at the bank's annual meeting. Three JPMorgan directors were re-elected by a slim majority, an unusual outcome. The three directors were on the board's risk management committee, which is widely seen as having fallen down after the bank lost $6.2 billion from risky derivatives trades last year.

Leon Kamhi, executive director of Hermes Equity Ownership Services, one of the sponsors of the motion to split the CEO and chairmanship, said the vote sent "a clear message to the board about weaknesses surrounding the risk committee."

A bitter, months-long shareholder campaign demanding more oversight of Dimon ended when JPMorgan announced at its annual meeting in Tampa that only 32.2 percent of the votes were cast in favor of the resolution to create an independent chairman. The proposal garnered 40.1 percent support a year earlier.

Even though the proposal was non-binding, a "yes" vote would have amounted to a rebuke to Dimon, one of the most outspoken figures on Wall Street. He had suggested that he might leave the bank if the proposal carried the day.

Kamhi said splitting the roles of chairman and CEO got fewer votes than last year because "people were worried (Dimon) was going to walk. And there was significant lobbying by the JPMorgan board."

Even though it was rejected again, supporters said that splitting the roles made sense because it would give Dimon more oversight. But the debate is far from settled.

Kamahi said all of the attention to board independence showed that "the board absolutely needs to pay heed."

Shares of JPMorgan rose 2 percent to $53.35, their highest since February 2001.

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