JPMorgan CEO Dimon to decline a bonus: source

NEW YORK Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:47am EST

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon speaks at the 50th annual Investment Company Institute (ICI) general membership meeting in Washington in this May 8, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon speaks at the 50th annual Investment Company Institute (ICI) general membership meeting in Washington in this May 8, 2008 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co, will not seek a bonus for 2008, a person close to the matter said on Friday.

Dimon joins a raft of other chief executives who are not receiving bonuses for a year when the credit crunch walloped the banking sector and forced government rescues.

Banks face mounting criticism that bonus systems are rewarding executives for taking on irresponsible risks. Taxpayer sentiment has turned against Wall Street and its highly paid bankers as financial companies have received billions of dollars in government money.

Goldman Sachs Group CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Merrill Lynch & Co Inc CEO John Thain will not receive bonuses, according to their banks. Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack said he will not receive a bonus for the second straight year. Citigroup Inc board member and adviser Robert Rubin will also not receive a bonus, according to media reports.

Dimon led JPMorgan through the acquisitions of Bear Stearns Cos and Washington Mutual Inc while limiting writedowns on toxic debt this year, but many analysts believe high U.S. unemployment will weigh on the bank's results next year.

JPMorgan's shares have fallen 32 percent this year, compared with a 50 percent drop for the U.S. banking sector as measured by the KBW Bank index.

The decision as to whether Dimon receives a bonus is ultimately up to the JPMorgan board, the source said.

JPMorgan declined comment on the matter.

JPMorgan received $25 billion under the U.S. Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The New York Times, quoting people briefed on the situation, reported on Friday that while Dimon would not request a bonus, his deputies were expected to receive bonuses based on their divisions' performance.

Citigroup Chief Executive Vikram Pandit has not yet decided whether to accept a bonus, the newspaper said, quoting people familiar with his plans.

Citigroup declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

On Thursday, Credit Suisse Group AG said it would pay senior executive bonuses with troublesome, illiquid assets, forcing employees to take on the risk that at least some of them put on the Swiss bank's books.

(Reporting by Elinor Comlay; editing by John Wallace)

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