The Week Ahead: Dimon's fortress might not save him

May 18, 2013 

A fortress balance sheet may not be enough armor to protect JPMorgan's CEO from the building chorus of criticism. Jamie Dimon has guided JPMorgan Chase & Co. since 2005, navigating through the financial crisis, serving as the de facto spokesman for big banks, and becoming the poster boy for arrogance in high finance. He has survived a multibillion-dollar trading scandal and now faces regulators' questions over actions of its energy traders and credit card collection procedures. No fewer than eight government agencies have launched investigations into JPMorgan.

On Tuesday, Dimon faces his latest battle: A group of shareholders want to strip him of his dual corporate roles as CEO and chairman of the board. Dimon has said he would consider leaving the bank altogether if his titles are separated, according to sources speaking with the Wall Street Journal.

He has survived these shareholder votes in the past. An effort last year to split the CEO and chairman roles garnered 40 percent support. Tuesday's vote at JPMorgan's annual shareholder meeting in Tampa, could be tighter. While the vote is not binding, two advisory firms working with big mutual fund shareholders have recommended approving the plan to appoint an in

dependent chairman.

Since Dimon took on both corporate roles, JPMorgan stock is up 6 percent. While that's less than the S&P 500 over the same stretch, it is much better than the almost 50 percent drop in the financial sector. But that may not be enough fortification for Dimon's future.

Tom Hudson, a financial journalist based in Miami, is the former co-anchor and managing editor of "Nightly Business Report" on public television. Follow him on Twitter @HudsonsView.

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