The legendary investor believes Dimon should continue to hold the dual role of Chairman and CEO of the nation's biggest bank, despite shareholder pressure to separate those roles.
"I'm 100 percent for Jamie," Buffett told Bloomberg Television's last week ahead of Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.B)annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. "I couldn't think of a better chairman."
He reiterated that opinion during an interview with Becky Quick on CNBC Monday, arguing that Dimon should keep both roles.Buffett personally owns shares of JPMorgan. His support of Dimon comes at a time when ISS, an influential proxy advisory firm, is urging investors to vote in favor of a proposal to split the chairman and CEO roles at the bank and vote against the re-election of three of its board members. Yet when it comes to Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett seems to believe his company's future will be in safer hands if the chairman and CEO roles are split. When Doug Kass, the anointed Berkshire Hathaway bear, asked Buffett during the annual meeting why he chose his son Howard to become chairman once he is gone, despite his lack of experience in running the business, the Oracle said Howard was chosen to protect the future of the company in case a mistake is made in choosing his successor. "Howard cares about the business and has a vested interest in protecting Berkshire and its culture,". Buffett said of his son. "He has no illusions at all about running the business. He won't get paid for running the business." While he thought there was only a 1% chance that the wrong person would be chosen as his successor, he admitted that there are plenty of "mediocre" CEOs running companies and when they are in the chairman's role, it's difficult to change that situation. He doesn't want that to happen at Berkshire. So what gives? Buffett told CNBC that in the final analysis he thought "either system is OK." Acknowledging the inherent conflict when a CEO sits on the board, he said he believed directors should spend some time talking without the CEO present. He also said that each year when Berkshire's board meets, he gives them a chance to talk without him there.
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