Though JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon emphasized the need for transparency and a commitment to racial equity in an annual shareholders letter, the board he chairs appeared to quickly reverse course hours later.
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JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s CEO Jamie Dimon and his board appeared to be on two different pages on Wednesday, when the CEO told shareholders that there needed to be more transparency at the company, MarketWatch reports.
In an annual letter to the shareholders, Dimon purportedly touched on issues of racism and inequality while stressing a clear and defined approach in the bank’s dealings.
“Unlike many companies that will simply sell you a product if you can pay for it, banks must necessarily turn customers down or enforce rules that a customer may not like (for example, covenants),” he wrote. “This makes open and transparent dealings even more important.”
Hours later, the bank released a proxy that included a shareholder resolution to address racial inequity at the bank via an audit. Citing its previous $30 billion commitment over five years to “close the racial wealth divide, support employees and break down barriers of systemic racism,” Dimon’s board curiously urged shareholders to vote no, according to MarketWatch. The board also argued that it had already had “extensive engagement with stakeholders who are impacted by our activities” and plans to diversify its staff. The bank previously said that it would bring on 300 Black and Latinx advisors by 2025.
The effort came after CtW Investment Group called out JPMorgan’s “conflicted history” in regards to tackling racial injustice, MarketWatch points out. Though Dimon was spotted last year walking into a Chase branch and kneeling in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, his bank has also been ensnared in several controversies, including lawsuits accusing the company of discriminating against Black and Hispanic employees.
Last year, the bank agreed to pay $9.8 million to resolve gender discrimination allegations. A report by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found that JPMorgan had paid at least 93 female employees significantly less than their male counterparts.