At the current run rate, Dimon could still get to keep both his titles. Still, the recommendations by two influential proxy advisory firms, ISS and Glass Lewis, threaten to sway the vote. Sell-side analysts are in favor of Dimon as CEO, but admit that they cannot rule out the possibility that the vote could go against him. Dimon's reputation as one of the savviest risk managers on Wall Street was tarnished by the multi-billion dollar "London whale" trading losses last year. His image has not yet been restored since the debacle, although the bank's financials have barely been dented and continue to notch new records.
But if the board does decide to split the roles, it remains to be seen who they would appoint as chairman and whether that person would work well with Dimon. Worse, what if Dimon quits, as reports suggest he might do? Analysts believe Mike Cavanagh, co-head of the investment bank and former CFO, would be a likely successor. Matt Zames, COO and Gordon Smith, head of the consumer and community banking unit are other names that have been floated. But the appointment of any of these names in the CEO position might be "3 - 4 years too soon" according to CLSA's Mayo. Most of the current management are old hands at JPMorgan, but have held their current roles for a relatively short time. Some argue there is even a "Jamie Dimon premium" built into the stock. The bank's strong track record at execution has allowed it to continually delivery superior returns on shareholder equity. Despite these concerns, some analysts believe the stock is a buy.
Evercore Partners analyst Andrew Marquardt believes there is no "Jamie premium," noting that the stock still trades at a cheap multiple for relatively superior returns. "While a split makes sense from a corp governance perspective broadly, we suspect there is a low probability of such happening given non-binding vote, Board support, and most importantly, looking at fundamentals where JPM clearly weathered last financial crisis better than most, results continue to outperform, and response to whale trade/CIO issues has been strong in terms of swift acknowledgement, accountability, and resolution," he wrote. "Regardless of outcome, we remain positive on JPM shares givenfundamentals, deep