JPMorgan awards CEO Jamie Dimon $36 million after most profitable year ever

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JPMorgan Chase (JPM) boosted the compensation of CEO Jamie Dimon after the lender earned more money in 2023 than any American bank ever.

Dimon’s 2023 compensation rose to $36 million from $34.5 million in 2022, the bank disclosed in a Thursday regulatory filing. The amount for 2023 includes a base salary of $1.5 million and $34.5 million in performance-based compensation.

“The board continues to recognize that the firm is in a uniquely fortunate position to be led by such a highly talented and experienced executive,” the bank stated in the filing.

Dimon, 67 years old, is currently the longest-serving CEO of a major national bank. JPMorgan is the largest lender by assets in the US.

Last Friday JPMorgan reported that it raked in $49.6 billion in profits over the course of 2023, blowing away all rivals and topping its previous record for annual earnings.

At the beginning of January, JPMorgan stock reached its all-time high price of $172. Since Dimon was named CEO on Dec. 31, 2005, JPMorgan’s stock has climbed more than 167%.

The questions about Dimon’s future are gaining urgency as JPMorgan increases its hold over the rest of the industry. The bank’s purchase of failed San Francisco lender First Republic last May increased its reach and influence while adding more to earnings. It also firmly established Dimon as the industry’s rescuer-in-chief.

Dimon has made it clear he has no near-term plans to leave. He has, however, also openly mused about life after JPMorgan.

“I can’t do this forever, I know that,” Dimon told analysts on May 22. “But my intensity is the same. I think when I don’t have that kind of intensity, I should leave.”

It is possible Dimon could stay at least two more years. Why? Well, the board has made it clear it wants him running the bank that much longer.

The clue is a special retention bonus of 1.5 million options the board awarded Dimon in 2021. He can’t exercise those options until 2026, and he has to stay at the bank the entire time while meeting certain performance targets.

But the retention plan does have one interesting provision that allows Dimon to exit earlier: He can exercise the options if he leaves for a government job, according to a regulatory filing. Elected or unelected.

Dimon has frequently been linked over the years to top roles in Washington. During President Obama’s time in office, Dimon was frequently mentioned as a possible Treasury secretary. Billionaire Warren Buffett even offered his endorsement in 2012, saying Dimon would be the best pick for that job.

Last year hedge fund manager Bill Ackman urged Dimon to run for president in 2024 as a Democrat, saying he could beat President Biden in the primary election and former President Donald Trump at the general election.

Whenever Dimon does step down, he likely will keep some sway over the board. He currently holds dual titles as chairman and CEO, and JPMorgan said in a 2022 regulatory filing that it would split those roles “upon the next CEO transition.”

In October, JPMorgan disclosed Dimon and his family’s decision to sell what was roughly $141 million in JPMorgan stock at the time, but said that move had nothing to do with succession planning. It was his first such stock sale since taking over the bank as boss in 2005.

The bank made it clear Thursday in its statement how important Dimon is to the company, saying in its filing that he “continues to grow the company, maintain market leadership positions, strengthen the firm’s reputation, invest in opportunities for the future, promote diversity and best practices, manage risk and develop great leaders, while also maintaining his focus on the firm’s clients.”

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