JPMorgan names Rebecca Thornton head of director advisory services: memo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rebecca Thornton will become the head of JPMorgan Chase & Co's JPM.N director advisory services group, a unit of the U.S. bank that helps source members for corporate boards and provides advice to them, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.

Thornton, who joined JPMorgan from executive recruiting firm Spencer Stuart last year, succeeds Karen Simon, a veteran of the bank who is retiring. Thornton is an expert in corporate governance across industries who has helped build out the boards of private equity-owned companies and has bolstered those facing pressure from activist investors.

Corporate boards of directors are under increasing scrutiny as investors press them on the diversity of their of their members, their view on environmental risks facing companies and their independence from management. Investors are pushing back against some companies with governance practices they view as sub-par, such as co-working space landlord The We Company, which recently shelved plans to go public.

Since joining JPMorgan, Thornton has helped the group expand its referral network, according to the internal memo.

JPMorgan’s director advisory services group has worked with more than 300 corporate clients and placed 23 directors, according to the internal memo. The group also has a network of more than 700 candidates.

Rod Reed, JPMorgan’s vice chairman of investment banking, will also serve as senior adviser to Thornton and her team, according to the memo.

Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Steve Orlofsky