JPMorgan's Dimon has throat cancer, to begin treatment shortly

Wed Jul 2, 2014 12:03pm EDT
 
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By David Henry

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said he has been diagnosed with throat cancer but that the ailment is curable and he plans to remain actively involved in the largest U.S. bank's business.

In a memo to the bank's employees and shareholders on Tuesday, Dimon, 58, said the cancer was caught at an early stage and is confined to the original site and the adjacent lymph nodes on the right side of his neck.

He will undergo radiation and chemotherapy treatment that is expected to last about eight weeks. The company did not disclose the stage of the cancer. "I feel very good now and will let all of you know if my health situation changes," Dimon wrote. "Importantly, there is no evidence of cancer elsewhere in my body."

The cancer was discovered after Dimon, who was not feeling well about two weeks ago, went to see doctors, a person familiar with the matter said. Dimon spent last week in intensive tests and visiting multiple doctors, the person said. Dimon was never a smoker.

The company has a short, medium and long-term succession plan in place, the source added.

The news of Dimon's ailment is an unexpected blow for JPMorgan. Dimon, who has been chief executive of the bank for the past eight years, was credited with steering the company successfully through the financial crisis. In recent years, however, the bank has run into headwinds that have taken off some of its sheen. In 2012, the bank lost $6.2 billion from risky derivatives bets that came to be known as the "London Whale" trades. And late last year, it agreed to a $13 billion settlement with the U.S. government to settle charges that it overstated the quality of mortgages it was selling to investors in the run-up to the financial crisis. The bank's massive London Whale loss prompted shareholders last year to push Dimon to give up the chairman's role, which he also holds. But shareholders backed off when Dimon's allies suggested at the time he might leave the company if he lost one of the titles.

"One of the main reasons I'm a shareholder is Jamie Dimon, one of the biggest reasons by far," said Michael Holland, founder of Holland & Co, an asset management firm overseeing more than $4 billion of assets, including JPMorgan shares. "He is by numbers and the record one of the best financial CEOs of our generation."

JPMorgan's shares were down 0.6 percent in after-market trading.   Continued...

 
JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon speaks during a discussion on "Closing the Workforce Skills Gap" at the Aspen Institute in Washington December 12, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Theiler