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J.P. Morgan Board Members Brace for Change as Dimon Stands Tall

Dimon

He’s safe, and it wasn’t all that close. Shareholders overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to strip J.P. Morgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon of his chairman duties, with only 32% of the votes cast against the bank’s top man, down from 40% last year. Dimon is going nowhere, but some of his compatriots may soon be shuffling out the door.

Three J.P. Morgan directors, all members of the board’s oft-maligned risk committee, attracted less than 60% of the vote, with longtime board member Ellen Futter barely earning a plurality of votes.

Lead independent director Lee Raymond issued an ominous warning, telling investors to “stay tuned” for possible changes to the construction of the board, without providing additional details. The Wall Street Journal reported that J.P. Morgan has already begun its hunt for new board members. Futter no-showed the annual meeting, hinting at her possible removal.

So Dimon came out of the meeting smelling like roses while other board members with less control over day-to-day operations appear on their way out. How did this happen? Shareholders realized that they risked losing Dimon altogether if they stripped him of his chairman role.

It appears the smartest thing Dimon did was drop hints that he would walk away from J.P. Morgan if he couldn’t wear both hats. Whether or not it was a bluff, the move worked. With the board in flux, Dimon’s grip on the bank just got that much tighter.

Water Getting Hotter (Bloomberg)

SAC Capital founder Steven Cohen is considering cutting a deal with prosecutors that would result in him shutting the hedge fund to outside investors. Another report says prosecutors are considering charging the firm as a criminal enterprise, a tool usually reserved for the Mafia or drug gangs.

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Tech giants and Silicon Valley startups are scooping up analytics specialists, leaving Wall Street’s big banks fighting for talent.

Someone’s Not Doing Their Job (WSJ)

Enraged lawmakers boiled over with frustration during a congressional hearing with current and former Internal Revenue Service chiefs, who passed the buck of responsibility, blaming lower-level employees for the alleged practice of discriminating against conservative groups.

Recruitment Firms on the Mend (Bloomberg)

Following an extended lull in activity, executive recruitment firms are getting healthier, buoyed mainly by rising CEO confidence.

Who Can Get You a Job in Banking (eFinancialCareers)

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Steep Bill (NY Times)

The lawyer for Rajat Gupta, the former Goldman Sachs director found guilty of insider trading, is pushing for a new trial, alleging in an appeals court that the judge in the original case erroneously admitted evidence that should have been withheld. Lawyers for Goldman Sachs were in the court room. The firm is still paying for Gupta’s defense, which has ballooned north of $35 million.

Buzz Around the Office

Cardio Makes You Thirsty (Sun Sentinel)

A burglar who was leading a foot chase with the police took a short break to steal two Heinekens from a neighboring home, before starting – and losing – a fistfight with a police dog.

List of the Day: Sales Lessons

Working in sales, even for just a short time, can teach you plenty of career lessons. Here are three.

  1. Get over your fear of the phone.
  2. Embrace metrics.
  3. You’ll fail a lot. Get tougher.

(Source: The Daily Muse)

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