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
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 for 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.
Matt McCormick, a portfolio manager at Bahl & Gaynor Investment
Counsel, said investors probably "give a 5 percent premium to his
But McCormick added, "I think it behooves him to ramp up the
succession plans a little quicker than expected, even if his
prognosis is great."
It is not clear what impact, if any, Dimon's health would have on
JPMorgan's board succession planning process.
Sources have previously said that the bank has several senior
executives who could potentially succeed Dimon.
The most obvious successors from within the bank include Daniel
Pinto, chief executive of corporate and investment bank, and Matthew
Zames, JPMorgan's chief operating officer.
Other possible in-house successors include Gordon Smith, the CEO for
the consumer bank, which accounts for about half of the company, and
Mary Erdoes, chief executive of asset management.
'OUTPOURING OF SUPPORT'
Dimon was not in the office during the last half of the afternoon
because he was seeing his doctor again. The company made the
announcement after he called in from that visit to the doctor.
[to top of second column]
Dimon recently had confided in some top JPMorgan executives that he
was going through tests and medical examinations, said an executive.
Since then, "there's been a huge outpouring of support for him," the
executive said. People who knew about the illness have called and
emailed to encourage him, the person said.
Dimon runs and plays tennis and looks fit to his colleagues in the
bank’s executive offices. He exercises several times a week. When on
business trips, he usually starts his days in hotel gyms.
Dimon said the treatment, which is still being finalized, would
curtail his travel.
He was expected to travel to Europe later on Tuesday, where he was
scheduled to meet with the prime ministers of Greece and Italy and
also visit Spain, England and Germany. But those plans have been
He plans to seek treatment at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering
Hospital, which is widely considered one of the best cancer
hospitals in the world.
According to the National Cancer Institute, the survival rate for
mouth and throat cancers diagnosed at any stage is 63 percent after
If the cancer is caught when it is still localized, meaning it is
confined to the primary site, the five-year survival rate is 82.7
percent. That drops to 60.5 percent if the cancer has spread to the
lymph nodes, and 37 percent if it has spread to distant sites in the
"These cancers are very treatable and have a good prognosis," said
Dr. Robert Haddad, clinical director of the Head and Neck Cancer
Treatment Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center in
Treatment, however, can be very debilitating. "The radiation therapy
is a very tough treatment," Haddad said. "It can leave the patient
with mouth sores, and difficulty swallowing and speaking. Some
patients are not able to eat at all during the treatment and require
a feeding tube to get them through it."Because there is often
residual damage from the radiation, Haddad said, "Even two or three
months after the radiation is finished can be very tough for a
Other CEOs have led companies after being diagnosed with cancer. In
2012, for example, Berkshire Hathaway Inc Chief Executive Warren
Buffett said he had stage 1 prostate cancer that required a
two-month treatment, consisting of daily radiation treatments.
In 2010, American International Group Inc said CEO Robert Benmosche
had cancer and an unclear prognosis. Benmosche led the insurer for
the next four years, helping the company repay taxpayers for their
crisis-era bailout. Benmosche will retire from AIG in September this
(Additional reporting by Peter Rudegeair, Sharon Begley, Dan
Wilchins and Greg Roumeliotis in New York and Abhirup Roy in
Bangalore; Writing by Paritosh Bansal; Editing by Chris Reese, Ken
Wills and Lisa Shumaker)
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