American International Group Inc. (AIG) Chief Executive Officer Robert Benmosche said shareholders of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) are wrong to challenge the authority of Jamie Dimon, the bank’s chairman and CEO.
“Jamie’s got a tough hand to play,” Benmosche said today in an in interview with Bloomberg Television’s Betty Liu. “He’s playing that hand extremely well.”
Retirement plans including the AFSCME pension fund are seeking to separate the chairman and CEO roles at New York-based JPMorgan. Pressure on Dimon increased after losses of more than $6 billion last year on derivatives trades. The bank’s board has said having Dimon, 57, in both posts is the “most effective leadership model.”
Benmosche serves on a board led by AIG Chairman Steve Miller, an arrangement that is right for the insurer now because of the company’s past and the cooperation between the two, he told Liu. New York-based AIG was bailed out by the U.S. in 2008 after record losses and repaid the aid last year under Benmosche, who took over in 2009.
Miller became chairman in 2010, replacing Harvey Golub, who clashed with Benmosche about the divestiture of AIA Group Ltd. (1299) Benmosche told the board their relationship was “ineffective and unsustainable” Golub wrote in his resignation letter.
“There’s no ‘we’ in ‘CEO,’” Benmosche, 68, said today. “You can’t have this divisive attitude where the chairman is trying to run some things, and the CEO was trying to run things. It became dysfunctional.”
Benmosche’s remark was a play on the sports saying, designed to encourage collaboration, that “there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team.’”
Benmosche also referred to the National Football League in addressing how Dimon, who posted record profit last year even after the trading loss, should be prepared for criticism.
“Welcome to the NFL, we actually hit pretty hard here,” Benmosche said of leadership posts at top financial firms. “Jamie’s a tough guy. He understands how to run that bank. He’s got a lot of different businesses that are going through very complex changes and regulations.”
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