NEW YORK — A major shareholder vote this week has Wall Street abuzz over the power and future of Jamie Dimon, leader of the country’s biggest bank.
As chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, Dimon burnished his reputation by steering the bank through the financial crisis virtually unscathed.
Charismatic and articulate, Dimon emerged as Wall Street’s most public face, an effective spokesman for an industry under siege by lawmakers, regulators and protesters.
Now Dimon is facing a shareholder push to strip him of the chairman’s job.
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Tuesday’s vote at JPMorgan’s annual shareholder meeting in Tampa, Fla., isn’t binding, but it has nevertheless become a marquee referendum whose results could rattle nerves across the financial industry.
Among the proposal’s backers are some of the nation’s biggest pension funds, which believe that splitting the roles will add more accountability at the bank. “The entire market is going to be watching this event unfold,” said Todd Hagerman, a banking analyst at Sterne Agee. “The ramifications are much more broad than perhaps people think.”
The measure was proposed by the American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees. Supporters of splitting the chairman and CEO positions endorse the measure as a matter of principle. They say it is not a vote on Dimon’s leadership.
The campaign has gained traction thanks to JPMorgan’s more than $6 billion loss stemming from wrong-way derivatives bets by a trader nicknamed the London Whale. The losses rekindled fears of the financial crisis and renewed calls for tougher regulation.
Along the way, Dimon’s own reputation suffered. Critics questioned his stewardship over a bank known for strong risk management.