Resignations (2)



March 32, 1910

Dear Mr. President,

Thank you for taking the time to meet with me to discuss issues surrounding the proposed invasion of Pakistan, and to clarify your thinking and the forthcoming government policy.

I regret that I cannot support your policy, nor can I in good conscience administer it or participate in it within the government.  I therefore feel I have no choice but to resign as Secretary of Defense, effective at once.

I feel I should warn you that, because I am resigning over a matter of principle related to issues of war and peace, I believe I have an obligation to make the reasons for my resignation public, and to argue publicly against the coming war.  I think I can do this without revealing any secrets, as the policy has been publicly debated in the press for weeks now.  I believe I have no ethical choice but to add my voice to that debate.

Thank you for the privilege of serving in your administration.  Although our differences on this policy are profound, we have been in agreement on most of your defense program, and I have been proud to support your policies.  I hope you will believe that my resignation over this issue does not reflect any disrespect for you personally.

Yours truly,

David F. Phillips
Secretary of Defense

Early in 2013 it seemed that Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorganChase, one of the largest and most powerful banks in the world, might lose his chairmanship. A significant faction of shareholders was backing a motion at the annual meeting to split the two offices of Chairman and CEO. The rumors were that if that happened, Dimon would, in a snit, abruptly resign as Chairman also, damaging the bank’s reputation for stability. But the shareholder proposal failed, and Dimon emerged triumphant at the meeting on May 21, 2013. In the meantime I gave fictional effect to his prospective snit by writing this intemperate letter of resignation.


May 22, 2013

To the Shareholders of JPMorganChase:

I have learned with dismay of the shareholders’ decision to split the two executive positions I have occupied.  I steered this bank through the worst financial crisis in 80 years with uninterrupted profitability.  At the moment our shares are more valuable than they have ever been before, and our prospects for continued profitability have never been brighter.  If the shareholders do not regard this as a successful stewardship of this company, it is hard to think what might satisfy them.

I am unable to read this decision in any other light than that the shareholders do not have confidence in my leadership as Chairman.  That being the case, it is hard to believe either the shareholders or the Board have confidence in my leadership as CEO either.  And given this sudden and unwarranted withdrawal of confidence, I myself no longer have confidence in the ability or the willingness of the shareholders or the Board to support me in either role.

Accordingly, I hereby resign both roles effective on delivery of this letter to the Secretary of the Board, and withdraw absolutely from any responsibility for the company.  I cannot continue in any role without the confidence that has been so abruptly withdrawn.  As the company apparently feels it can govern itself better without my contribution, it should begin immediately to do so.  I will decide in due course what disposition to make of my shares in the bank, including options, warrants and similar financial rights.  I regard myself as constructively discharged and do not waive any recourse against the company for compensation or severance.