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Should JP Morgan Split CEO and Chairman Position?

Jamie Dimon is currently the man in charge at JP Morgan (JPM), one of the leading financial institutions in the world. He is currently not only the company's CEO, but also enjoys the role as the chairman of the board.

Last year Dimon came under great deal of pressure resulting from the massive trading losses that the company took which resulted in more than $6 billion in losses, and now he is facing another challenge to his dual role as CEO and chairman.

Dimon has held both positions since 2006, but is now in jeopardy of losing one of his positions. Several large shareholders in the company are requesting that JP Morgan appoint an independent board chair, which they believe will increase to accountability of top management, and result in a more independent board.

A similar proposal was made last year, and received 40% approval.

Dimon is not the only leader of a major financial institution whose joint position is being threatened. Lloyd Blankfein, who is the CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs (GS) is fighting a similar proposition by shareholders of his company. The results of these two proposals could cause a major shakeup across the industry as most large financials continue to vest both positions with the same person.

The financial industry has long argued that splitting the positions is not necessary, but following the recent financial collapse it has come under increased pressure to do so.

Following the massive trading losses at JP Morgan, the company decided to punish Dimon by cutting his compensation in half, but no legal action was taken against anyone at the company, and no responsibility was placed on the board.

While I agree that splitting the role of CEO and chairman may bring additional accountability to both positions, I highly doubt that the move will do anything to make financial institutions more manageable.

Michael Fowlkes

Michael Fowlkes is a financial writer who has been with the Fresh Brewed Media family since 2004. Over the course of his tenure with Fresh Brewed Media, he has worn many hats, including portfolio manager, options analyst, and writer. Michael received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in Accounting and got his start in finance working as a stock trader for six years at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Va.