Dimon has also been a fierce critic of President Obama’s economic policies, including parts of the Dodd-Frank banking reform bill. Many union pension funds as well as public officials running large pension funds have vocally supported the president’s economic and regulatory policies, and the recent shareholder vote was designed to quash Dimon’s public criticism of these policies, people inside JP Morgan say.
That’s from Charlie Gasparino’s report today that the House Financial Services Subcommittee is going to hold a hearing “into whether proxy advisory firms are pushing political agendas rather than serving shareholder interests,” which I guess is no sillier a hearing than most other hearings. More things:
Executives at many companies have complained to Congress that such battles are fraught with politics, with advisory firms often pushing the political agendas of some of their biggest shareholder clients at union and public pension funds.
There’s much to unpack there1 but the basic questions are: Read more »
Jamie Dimon’s continuing employment as chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase may or may not be an interesting case study in shareholder rights and corporate governance, but the most interesting question in bank governance is really “who cares what shareholders think?” Like: a bank is a bunch of depositor and creditor money, largely backed by explicit and implicit government guarantees, topped with a thin layer of shareholder-capital icing, and run for the benefit of that layer of icing. The shareholders are in charge because that’s how it’s done in every other sort of company, and because they bear the riskiest risk, but they certainly don’t bear the most risk on a sheer notional basis. And, since their shares are an almost at-the-money option on a vast pile of assets, they tend to have a fondness for volatility that other stakeholders might find disconcerting.1
The CEO is supposed to be the chief employee, leading his or her organization to deliver on the agenda and objectives the Board of Directors has set. The CEO is an operating executive.
The Chairman, on the other hand, is supposed to lead the Board of Directors in setting the agenda, strategy, and objectives of the corporation, in response to its employers, the shareholders, and all the other myriad stakeholders (employees, regulators, government officials, vendors, community members, and customers) which have a say or a stake in the activity of the firm. The Chairman and other directors of the corporation are stewards. They are not supposed to get down in the weeds, day to day, operating the various parts of the business. That is the CEO’s job. But as stewards they are supposed to think about the what-ifs, the perils and opportunities that may or may not confront the firm in the future, and the problems and threats which may be festering beneath the glittering surface of excellent corporate performance.
One way of reading that is that the CEO goes to work every day to make money for the shareholders: his job is to increase net income. Read more »
He said he was going to quit if stripped of the chairman role, and god damn it, he meant it but luckily: 1. It did not come to that and 2. He got distracted watching that Harlem Shake video Lloyd sent him and fell down a rabbit’s hole of different versions on YouTube, waking up this morning with his face on the keyboard and an email that began “I believe it was John Pierpont Morgan who famously said, ‘You can all go fuck yourselves'” saved to drafts. Read more »
“’They’re jealous,’” former Bear Stearns CEO Jimmy Cayne says about Dimon’s critics, in a rare interview since JPMorgan bought the foundering investment bank in March 2008. “’They’re looking at themselves as being unfortunate and being underpaid and being underappreciated, and if there’s a piñata out there to take a swipe at, who better than somebody who’s got everything that they don’t?’” [BusinessWeek]
Following the appeals of activist investors, shareholders of office landlord CommonWealth REIT on Tuesday forced the resignation of a trustee on the company’s board, Joseph Morea, by failing to give him a majority of votes.
The rest of the board didn’t need to look far for a replacement. On Wednesday, the board announced it had voted Morea right back into his old seat.
Morea lost a binding shareholder vote on whether he could keep his job – “CommonWealth’s bylaws require directors to resign if they don’t get a majority” – and the board told the shareholders to go fuck themselves.1
The sense I’m getting is that Jamie Dimon is going to win his can-he-still-be-chairman vote, which I find a little disappointing – not because I want him to stop being chairman, but because the truly Dimonesque move here would be to lose the vote and stay chairman anyway. “Think I’m too unconstrained? I’ll show you unconstrained!” etc. It would fit well with this: Read more »