This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
See Cramer's multi-million dollar portfolio for FREE and get his new book Get Rich Carefully! Learn More

Salmon: Jamie Dimon Needs a Boss

NEW YORK (Reuters Blogs) -- Jamie Dimon is wagging his finger from newstands across America this week, above the kind of headline his PR team can only dream of: "DIMON IS FOREVER: Why Jamie Dimon is Wall Street's Indispensable Man".

The story itself, by Nick Summers and Max Abelson, consists mainly of rich corporate insider types talking about how wonderful Jamie Dimon is, and how ridiculous it is that anybody might consider stripping him of the chairmanship of JPMorgan Chase. Here's a doozy:

Admiring rivals have been known to call Dimon "the sun god." That cosmic aura has real use, says Kathryn Wylde, who served on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's board with Dimon until his term ended last year. "There's no doubt that it helped the bank, because so much of that business is built on confidence." The intrusion of shareholders, in the form of a vote on Dimon's dual roles, she adds, is "indefensible if the company is performing well."

Wylde is one of those great-and-good people who turn up on boards all over the place: not only the New York Fed, but also everything from the NYC Economic Development Corporation and the Manhattan Institute to the Lutheran Medical Center and the U.S. Trust Advisory Committee. Her day job is serving as the president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, a partnership made up exclusively of large companies and the rich people who lead them. JPMorgan is unshockingly among them. Her view of the role of shareholders in corporate governance is fascinating: It's "indefensible" for them to care about such things so long as they're getting paid.

But clearly shareholders do care about governance: Both Institutional Investors Services and Glass Lewis, advisory firms paid to work out what is in the best interests of shareholders, have come to the entirely reasonable conclusion that Jamie Dimon should not keep his job as chairman of the board.

The battle line between principals and agents has never been more clearly delineated than it is here. The shareholders of JPMorgan -- the owners of the company -- want a board which represents their interests, and which can control what the CEO does. The managers and captured professional board members, on the other hand -- the CEO class -- have rallied around Dimon in an impressive display of high-wattage solidarity. Bloomberg Businessweek quotes Bill Daley, John Mack, Jimmy Cayne, Phil Gramm, Dick Kovacevich and "two dozen of Dimon's peers and colleagues" in his defense; Andrew Ross Sorkin, for good measure, adds Barry Diller and Hank Paulson.

Will shareholders see this awesome display of PR firepower and decide that Jamie's right, he should stay on as chairman after all? If they're narrowly focused on the short-term future of the JP Morgan share price, then probably they will. After all, Dimon has petulantly threatened to quit if the motion goes through, which would be bad for the share price -- and as all of these articles are at pains to point out, there's not much evidence that splitting the chairman and CEO roles is likely to do any particular good for JP Morgan's share price over the medium term. (It can help underperforming companies, but that effect disappears with respect to relatively strong ones.)

Stock quotes in this article: JPM 

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
DOW 16,262.56 +89.32 0.55%
S&P 500 1,842.98 +12.37 0.68%
NASDAQ 4,034.1610 +11.4670 0.29%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs