Receiving Wide Coverage ...
More JPMeeting Previews: JPMorgan's annual meeting is a week from today, and the curtain-raisers keep coming. "Shareholders are taking a close look at financial relationships between some J.P. Morgan Chase board members and the company they oversee," according to the Journal. For example, the bank underwrote a bond issue, provided a line of credit and made charitable contributions to the American Museum of Natural History, run by Ellen Futter, a JPMorgan director. ("J.P. Morgan won the bond issuance as the result of a competitive bid, and the bank provided financing for the museum before Ms. Futter joined the bank's board, said a person close to J.P. Morgan," who must be a brave whistleblower risking his or her job to let the world know that the bank did nothing wrong.) Notably, the shareholders scrutinizing these conflicts are union pension funds, a category that chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon recently scoffed at as distinct from "real money" investors. Meanwhile, media baron Barry Diller tells Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin that the push to sever the chairman and CEO roles at JPMorgan "isn't about good governance; it's about busybodies shaming a superb C.E.O." Sorkin writes that "the question before shareholders has moved beyond simply a philosophical debate about whether corporations should have a separate chairman and chief executive. The vote increasingly appears to have become a referendum on Mr. Dimon personally." On that score, the columnist reminds readers: "the incontrovertible fact remains that JPMorgan is still one of the best-performing banks on Wall Street under Mr. Dimon." The CEO is likely to quit "if he receives the equivalent of a no-confidence vote. Plus, there is no clear successor waiting in the wings." (A Times reader asks in the comment thread, "whose fault is it that 'there is no clear successor waiting in the wings?'") Interestingly, Ira Millstein, a corporate governance lawyer and prominent supporter of the independent-chairman model, acknowledges to Sorkin that "one size may not necessarily fit all." Hank Paulson's quoted in there stumping for Jamie, too.
Wall Street Journal
An article looks at the potential conflicts of interest that arise when investment bankers work with multiple rival bidders for the same takeover target.
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