JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is rallying major holders of its stock to let Jamie Dimon keep his board chairmanship, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Directors and executives, in upcoming meetings, will urge fund managers to reject a proposal by several public and union pension funds that JPMorgan name a chairman who lacks ties to management.
A similar proposal last year garnered a 40% favorable vote. Dimon has held both the chairman and chief executive titles since 2006.
As part of its campaign, JPMorgan has reached out to the Vanguard Group, State Street (STT), BlackRock (BLK) and other institutional investors who hold sizable stakes in the company, the report said.
JPMorgan's annual meeting is scheduled for May 21 in Tampa, and it is customary for companies to meet with their biggest holders in the run-up to such gatherings.
Dimon is said to be open to losing his chairmanship if the board thinks it is appropriate, according to people close to him, the Journal reported. In January the board cut Dimon's pay for 2012 by roughly 54%, to $11.5 million, citing a $6.2 billion trading loss last spring.
"As we approach our annual meeting, we are conducting our normal shareholder outreach program, which offers an opportunity to review company matters with investors and which sometimes includes conversations with directors," JPMorgan spokesman Joe Evangelisti said in an email.
Proponents say the proposal reflects their concerns about oversight of management by the board following the trading loss, an order from regulators calling on JPMorgan to tighten anti-money-laundering controls and the company's ability to manage its complex balance sheet.
"We think it goes to the issue of risk management," Lisa Lindsley, director of capital strategies at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, one of the shareholders who filed the proposal, told American Banker in February.
JPMorgan's board has pointed out that all of its members except Dimon are independent. In materials sent to shareholders, the board said it "believes it is functioning effectively under its current structure with Mr. Dimon serving as both chairman and CEO, and that the current structure provides appropriate independent leadership and oversight of management."
The board also said it appoints an independent director each year to preside over meetings that the chairman misses and over sessions of independent directors. Lee Raymond, a former chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil, currently holds the post.