CHICAGO - Now that James Dimon is nearly finished making senior-level executive appointments at Bank One Corp., the banking company's chairman and chief executive officer is said to be training his sights on the company's board of directors.
Mr. Dimon was unavailable to comment Friday. But in response to an inquiry a Bank One spokesman said: "The board takes seriously the whole issue of board governance, and Jamie has told analysts [that the board has] not only reviewed the company but also the composition of the board and he has acknowledged the board is very large."
The spokesman added: "The board's goal is to be the best it can be, and there's really no timetable or agenda" for any change.
Industry observers familiar with the situation are expecting Mr. Dimon to make some changes in the 19-member panel, perhaps trimming its size.
"He indicated that he's asked the board to evaluate what the appropriate role of board members is and what the board is," one source said. The source said Mr. Dimon's stance would probably result in a smaller - "and, I would argue, more active" - board. In response to inquiries, analysts said they would not be surprised if Mr. Dimon acted to shrink the board.
Lori Appelbaum, of Goldman, Sachs & Co., said she had no specific sense of when change would come but does think it's looming. "I don't know how to analyze this any other way than that he probably wants a smaller board that's a little more progressive," she said. "I don't think there's anything more to it than that."
Bradley Vander Ploeg, an analyst at First Union Securities Inc. in Chicago, said Bank One's directors are "completely supportive" of Mr. Dimon and "are on board with the decisions he's made, like cutting the dividend." Nonetheless, Mr. Vander Ploeg sees change as inevitable because of competing board factions. He said he sees Mr. Dimon taking action sometime this year.
"Do I think he would want to reshape the board? Yes," said Susan Roth, an analyst at Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette Securities. "Any incoming CEO is going to want to make some changes. The board can be as subject to those changes as any manager would."
Not much has changed in the board's makeup since Mr. Dimon joined Bank One in late March. Only one director has left - John C. Tolleson, the former First USA chief executive who resigned in May to join the board of Juniper Financial.
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