NYC pensions urge JPMorgan investors to push Lee Raymond off board

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New York City pensions are pushing to remove Lee Raymond, JPMorgan Chase's longest-serving director, from the bank's board because of his track record on climate change.

The group, which together owns about 2.4 million JPMorgan shares, says Raymond doesn't have the impartiality or understanding of climate change issues to fulfill his responsibilities as lead independent director. They join nonprofit groups that began pushing earlier this year to remove him from the board. A former Exxon Mobil CEO, Raymond, 81, has been on JPMorgan's board for more than three decades.

"We are urging share-owners to vote 'no' on Lee Raymond because his long history in the fossil-fuel industry and excessive tenure on JPMorgan's board render him unable to fulfill his fiduciary duty as an independent public company director for long-term investors," New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said in a statement Wednesday.

A JPMorgan spokesman declined to comment.

The biggest U.S. bank has drawn fire for lending billions to the fossil-fuel industry, but the former oil executive's power inside the firm had drawn little notice until earlier this year. The nonprofit group Majority Action began a fight in February to remove Raymond from the board, saying his coziness with Big Oil compromises the bank's ability to react to the climate crisis.

JPMorgan said earlier this month that Raymond would stand for re-election as lead independent director, but that he'd asked the board to begin a formal process to identify his successor, according to the bank's annual proxy statement.

Stringer has an influential voice because he helps oversee the city's public pension funds, which totaled more than $211 billion as of February. He said his announcement on Raymond was on behalf of the New York City Employees' Retirement System, the Board of Education Retirement System and the Teachers' Retirement System.

Bloomberg News
Climate change JPMorgan Chase New York City Pension Funds