JPMorgan removes ex-oil boss from independent director role

JPMorgan Chase has promised to announce a new lead independent director by the end of September, bringing an end to the 19-year tenure of former ExonnMobil chief Lee Raymond and satisfying demands for change led by New York City’s comptroller and climate groups. 

America’s biggest bank revealed the timetable for appointing Mr Raymond’s successor in documents filed ahead of its May 19 annual shareholders meeting. The former oil boss, who is 81, will remain in place as a director. 

“This is a tremendous victory for shareholders and for the planet,” said Scott Stringer, New York City’s comptroller, who argued against Mr Raymond’s continued tenure given his ties to the fossil fuels industry. 

Mr Raymond is the most powerful force on the JPMorgan board after Jamie Dimon, the bank’s longtime leader who holds the titles of chief executive and chairman.

The lead independent director role was enhanced after the 2012 London Whale trading scandal, which cost the bank more than $6bn. 

A spokesperson for JPMorgan was unavailable for comment. The bank had previously indicated it would plan a transition for the lead independent director role but had not detailed the timing.

Climate change groups, including Majority Action and Stop the Money Pipeline Coalition, also claimed Mr Raymond’s demotion as a victory. Their campaign is not over yet, though.

Eli Kasargod-Staub, executive director of Majority Action, said JPMorgan shareholders would be “best served when Raymond is removed from the board entirely”. 

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