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JPMorgan's Dimon plans to use vacation for cancer treatment

By David Henry and Peter Rudegeair

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co, plans to be out of the office for at least half of his planned two-month course of radiation treatment and chemotherapy for throat cancer, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

Dimon's four weeks of vacation could begin shortly after JPMorgan reports quarterly results on July 15, depending in part on how doctors set the details of his course of treatment, said spokesman Joseph Evangelisti. Dimon usually takes off about three weeks in August, traditionally one of the slower times of the year for business.

Dimon first told employees and shareholders about his cancer late Tuesday in a memo sent shortly after a conclusive visit to his doctor. He had been through several days of tests.

Dimon said in the memo that the treatment will stop him from traveling, but that he had been advised that he would "be able to continue to be actively involved" in the business.

"We will continue to run the company as normal," Dimon said.

JPMorgan shares closed down 1 percent on the New York Stock Exchange at $56.97. The decline was the steepest of the 24 stocks in the KBW index of bank stocks <.BKX>, which lost 0.1 percent.

Rafferty Capital Markets bank analyst Dick Bove said in a report Wednesday Dimon was unlikely to retain his chairman title when he returns from treatment, and would likely spread more of his daily duties among other executives at the bank.

"JPMorgan Chase simply cannot present itself to the world as if it were a one-man show," Bove wrote.

Dimon has said in the past the bank has many senior executives who could step into his role if he were hit suddenly by a bus.

Senior executives on the bank's operating committee include potential successors to Dimon, such as Daniel Pinto, the head of the corporate and investment bank; Matt Zames, chief operating officer; Gordon Smith, consumer banking head, and Mary Erdoes, asset management chief.

The company has not named anyone to act in Dimon's place during his treatment.

JPMorgan lead director Lee Raymond said at the bank's shareholder meeting in May last year that the board intended to have a viable successor to Dimon but he hoped Dimon would stay at JPMorgan far into the future.

CAUGHT EARLY

On days when Dimon will undergo treatments he expects to be able to go to his office, which is close to his home as well as his hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering. Executives are used to dealing with him by phone, email and video conference because he usually travels frequently.

In Tuesday's memo, Dimon quoted his doctors as having said his prognosis is excellent because the cancer was caught early. It is confined to the original site and to adjacent lymph nodes on the right side of his neck, he said.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the survival rate for mouth and throat cancers diagnosed at any stage is 63 percent after five years.

(Reporting by David Henry and Peter Rudegeair in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Bernard Orr)

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