He went on to say that the London Whale scandal was "embarrassing," and had opened up the company to "severe criticism" with multiple investigations still continuing. But he said it would be a "great shame to allow that one thing to damage the company."
Members of the public employee union AFSCME, the New York City Comptroller's Office and other fund managers all called on Chase to split Dimon's duties.
AFSCME’s Lisa Lindsley said the proposal was never intended as a referendum on Dimon's performance as CEO, but a question of what was best for the board and the shareholders. "Corporate governance is not a personality contest," she added.
"The job of chair has grown increasingly complex... it's in the best interest of the bank, the shareholders and even you, for the board to elect a highly competent board leader as independent chair, so you can focus your extraordinary talent... on running a complex institution," said Suzanne Hoffman, speaking on behalf of the Connecticut State Treasurer, who was also on the record as wanting Dimon to be removed as board chairman.
Alan Fisher, executive director of the California Reinvestment Coalition, blasted Chase on the issue of mortgage foreclosures and loan modifications, and said that those issues "illustrated the need to separate positions."
There are at least eight separate investigations into Chase's corporate behavior ongoing, and earlier this month California's attorney general announced she was suing the company, alleging it used illegal tactics in its efforts to collect debts from more than 100,000 credit card holders.
Three Chase executives sat on the dais staring out at the crowd: Dimon on the left, General Counsel Steve Cutler in the middle (who ran the meeting), and Lee Raymond, Chase's top director, on the right.
Backing Dimon 100 percent, Raymond maintained the company line, saying, "We don't believe this is the time for disruption." Raymond also said that Dimon had been rebuked for the problem with the London Whale sale last year, as his pay was cut in half earlier this year (Dimon is now making just $11.5 million annually).
Another shareholder measure that was voted down was a call by the group Investors Against Genocide, whose representative, Eric Cohen, called on Chase to stop investing in the company PetroChina, which he alleged has provided Sudan's government with revenue that has been helping fund the Darfur genocide for years.
Dimon said that the bank was obviously against genocide, and didn't believe what Cohen was alleging. That measure received only 8.1 percent support.
Another measure called on Chase to disclose firm payments used directly or indirectly for lobbying, including specific amounts and recipients' names. That proposal also drew only 8 percent support.
There was less criticism all around of Dimon than at last year's shareholder meeting; in fact, several Tampa shareholders all but wore pom-poms as they cheered on the JPMorgan Chase leader.
"I wholeheartedly endorse your leadership," hailed John Grandoff, often seen arguing for developers at Tampa City Council meetings.
Another shareholder, George Polos, also praised Dimon, but came back for a second crack at the mic to say that the meager amenities offered during the meeting paled in comparison to what Warren Buffett offered at shareholder events for his company, Berkshire Hathaway.