Climate activists claim win as JPMorgan sets timetable for new lead director

FILE PHOTO: People walk by the JP Morgan & Chase Co. building in New York in an October 24, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

(Reuters) – New York City’s pension fund leader claimed a win on Friday after JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) set a timetable to replace its lead independent director, a former Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) CEO who had become the focus of criticism of the bank’s climate record.

The director, Lee Raymond, who is up for re-election at the bank’s annual meeting on May 19, had earlier asked the board to start a formal process to find a successor for the lead independent director role, JPMorgan said previously.

But in a securities filing on Thursday JPMorgan said it plans to name a new lead independent director “by end of summer 2020.” A JPMorgan spokesman declined to comment beyond the language in the filings.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, who oversees the city’s pension fund and whose office last month began a campaign to vote out Raymond, in a statement sent by a spokeswoman called the change “a tremendous victory for shareholders and for the planet.”

Stringer’s office in its campaign against Raymond had cited JPMorgan’s lending to fossil fuel companies and Raymond’s long tenure on JPMorgan’s board.

Raymond has been on the board of JPMorgan and a predecessor since 1987.

Institutional Shareholder Services on Thursday had recommended investors back all JPMorgan directors, but called its support for Raymond “cautionary” in order “to convey that additional, new independent oversight is necessary as the process to find his successor unfolds.”[nL1N2CJ03L]

Reporting by Ross Kerber; Editing by Leslie Adler

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