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Two JPMorgan directors to retire from board after Whale mess

A sign stands in front of the JPMorgan Chase & Co bank headquarters building in New York, March 15, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
A sign stands in front of the JPMorgan Chase & Co bank headquarters building in New York, March 15, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

(Reuters) - Two JPMorgan Chase & Co directors who sat on the board's risk committee in the run-up to the London Whale trading debacle have retired.

The directors, David Cote and Ellen Futter, won relatively low numbers of votes at the company's annual meeting in May, signaling investor discomfort with them. Shareholders have told Reuters that they have continued to agitate for changes on the board since the meeting.

The board expects to appoint additional directors "as the year goes on," Lee Raymond, the presiding director, said in the statement on Friday.

Two advisory firms had suggested investors vote against Futter, who heads the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and Cote, who is chairman and chief executive of Honeywell International Inc .

Both were on the risk committee when JPMorgan announced the bad credit derivatives trades that ultimately cost the bank more than $6.2 billion and damaged its reputation.

Futter was re-elected to the board with only 53.1 percent of the vote at the company's annual meeting in May, which she did not attend. Cote received 59.3 percent of the vote.

Raymond had said at the annual meeting that he expected the board to make changes in its risk policy committee following the vote.

The two directors were long-standing board members. Cote had served for more than five years, and Futter for 16 years.

Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon emerged from the annual meeting with more evident power than before, after 68 percent of shareholders recommended that he continue to be both chairman of the board and chief executive.

The endorsement exceeded the 60 percent of votes Dimon had received the year before and came after many investors feared he might quit if they did not agree that he could both run the company and lead the board in its oversight.

Dimon, in Friday's statement, said of Cote and Futter, "We have learned a great deal from both of them and will miss having them as members of our board."

(Reporting by David Henry and Nadia Damouni in New York; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Tim Dobbyn)

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