Jamie Dimon Defends His Pay in Axios Sitdown After New Award
(Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, granting an interview to Axios’s HBO program to discuss the bank’s pledge to help combat racial inequity, ended up defending his pay again.
“The board decides what I make,” Dimon told Axios co-founder James VandeHei, echoing a response he gave Congress in May, before the panel awarded him a surprise five-year retention bonus. When VandeHei countered by suggesting they could ask their boards to cut their pay, Dimon says his would take offense. The CEO’s compensation is part of a broader “umbrella” designed to retain senior management, he said.
“We pay people to do a great job,” Dimon said. “They could all sell their services elsewhere. I need to maintain the best team on the playing field. And I need to pay them fairly to do that. You may not like that, but that’s what it is.”
The board awarded Dimon $31.5 million in compensation for 2020.
The interview focused on JPMorgan’s pledge to pump $30 billion over five years into lending and other efforts to advance racial equity. VandeHei peppered Dimon during the sitdown with questions about how he decides when to have the bank take a stand on hot political topics -- such as Texas’s recent crackdown on abortions -- and when he abstains.
“I get a lot of stuff to take positions on, and some we do, some we don’t, some we can’t,” Dimon said. At the same time, he brushed off conservative criticisms that he’s “woke,” saying he doesn’t know what that means.
Asked whether his medical issues -- including emergency heart surgery last year -- changed him and played any role in the bank’s pledge, Dimon smiled slightly but said he isn’t sure.
“I love what I do,” he said. “I have hobbies, I read, I love history, I love wine, I love hanging out with my family, I like traveling, but I also like having a purpose and my purpose is JPMorgan. To me, that’s what I do and I like doing it, and I’m going to do it until the day I die.”
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