Could JP Morgan split chairman/CEO jobs?


A 129-page report issued by JPMorgan on the London Whale trading fiasco was meant to be the final word on the subject, a definitive account of what happened and how the company responded.

But in the mind of one pundit anyway, it has renewed the issue of whether JPMorgan would be better off splitting the Chairman and CEO jobs. The board, which is led by Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, did reduce Dimon's compensation by $11.6 million from the 2011 levels. But a split of the chairmain/CEO position would certainly make a statement.

Breakingviews columnist writes that, "When a big risk management failure occurs, directors need to consider options more radical than the mostly procedural and reporting changes that have already been made. One could be to split the roles of chairman and CEO. A well-chosen chairman provides a check on a chief executive's powers. In one indication that this can work, GMI Ratings last year concluded that an executive pulling double duty can earn 50 percent more than the total pay of two people performing the top jobs separately. An independent chairman could galvanize and maybe refresh JPMorgan's board. Perhaps most important at a complex bank, a chairman could also share the load as the bank's figurehead, allowing Mr. Dimon to spend more time making sure the next whale trade doesn't fall through the cracks."

There have certainly been calls along these lines before. It hasn't happened yet, and there's no reason to think it will soon.

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