by Kate Childs Graham | January 18, 2012
Shares of JPMorgan Chase and Co. are tumbling almost as fast as its integrity. During the past year, the firm’s shares declined nearly 20 percent. It lost $16.3 billion in bad mortgages and foreclosures. It took foreclosure actions against six active duty military personnel in violation of the Servicemember Civil Relief Act.
It goes without saying that JPMorgan needs some cleaning up. And that clean-up must start at the top with CEO Jamie Dimon – who also happens to be chairman of the board. This double duty as CEO and chairman of the board gives Dimon unyielding power and unfathomable compensation. Dimon, who as board chair presides over the directors who establish his compensation, received a $26.5 million raise from 2009 to 2010.
Now, the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan has stepped in. It filed a shareholder proposal asking JPMorgan to adopt an independent board chair. By doing this, the AFSCME Plan believes that JPMorgan can cure, or at least make a step towards curing, its problems, both ethical and economic.
AFSCME Pres. Gerald W. McEntee added, “An independent chair would get JPMorgan executives focused on generation long term value for shareholders, rather than empire-building and big bonuses.”