Wells Fargo’s new CEO: ‘We will get it done’
CEO Charlie Scharf has instilled the company with a sense of urgency in addressing its priorities.
Speaking at his first town hall in October 2019, one week into his role as Wells Fargo CEO, Charlie Scharf’s message for the company was clear: “We all have to demand more from each other. The seriousness of what we do brings tremendous responsibility. Our work has tremendous impact upon people. We need to recognize that and make sure that we're doing everything we can to operate the company to the highest standards of operational excellence.”
Since then, Scharf has focused on doing exactly that. He has put together a leadership team of executives from inside and outside of the company charged with doing the foundational work necessary to build the risk and control infrastructure appropriate for a company the size and complexity of Wells Fargo.
Scharf describes that as “the price of admission for what we do.”
“We all have to demand more from each other. The seriousness of what we do brings tremendous responsibility. Our work has tremendous impact upon people. We need to recognize that and make sure that we're doing everything we can to operate the company to the highest standards of operational excellence.” — Charlie Scharf
Building the right foundation
Scharf brings more than 24 years of leadership experience in the banking and payments industries to Wells Fargo, including CEO roles at Visa and Bank of New York Mellon. He has a demonstrated track record in leading change, driving results, strengthening operational risk and compliance, and innovating amid a rapidly evolving digital landscape. At Wells Fargo, Scharf has stressed urgency, accountability, and execution as what will drive the company forward. He has acknowledged the mistakes that were made in the past and has made addressing Wells Fargo’s regulatory requirements his top priority.
In February, Wells Fargo entered into agreements with the United States Department of Justice and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve these agencies’ investigations into the company’s historical Community Bank sales practices and related disclosures. As part of this resolution, Wells Fargo agreed to make payments totaling $3 billion.
As Scharf acknowledged, “At the time of the sales practices issues, the company did not have in place the appropriate people, structure, processes, controls, or culture to prevent the inappropriate conduct,” he said. “This was inexcusable.” While the settlements mark a significant step in bringing this chapter to a close, Scharf said there’s still more work to be done to rebuild the trust the company lost. “We are committing all necessary resources to ensure that nothing like this happens again, while also driving Wells Fargo forward,” he said.
“The company was not prepared to prevent inappropriate conduct. This was inexcusable, and we must ensure such failings never occur again at Wells Fargo.” — Charlie Scharf
The focus on strengthening the company’s control environment goes beyond just meeting the expectations of its regulators. Scharf sees these changes as fundamental for the business going forward. “Meeting our regulatory requirements remains Wells Fargo’s top priority, because it builds the right foundation for all that lies ahead,” he said. “We recognize that what we want and what regulators want are not different. Our future depends on our ability to get this work done.”
A culture of accountability and operational excellence
Also foundational to the future are the cultural changes Scharf is leading at Wells Fargo. In his messages to the company’s employees, he has encouraged them to embrace candor, deliver on their promises by executing flawlessly, and always do the right thing. “Words are nice, but actions are what matter,” he said.
In his first week, Scharf also signed the Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation issued by the Business Roundtable, which acknowledges that businesses are responsible to a broad set of constituents including customers, employees, suppliers, and the communities in which companies operate. He said, “In order to be a great employer, a great and involved partner in the communities where we operate, and contribute in meaningful ways to the growth of the U.S., we must be guided by delivering for our customers every day in a manner that will make us and our stakeholders proud.”
Flatter structure for clearer responsibility and authority
In early February, Scharf unveiled a flatter organizational structure for Wells Fargo, designed to provide leaders with clear authority and responsibility. The new organizational structure has five principal lines of business, each with a CEO who reports directly to Scharf and is represented on the company’s Operating Committee.
As part of the reorganization, Scharf aligned control executives with each of the company’s businesses who will have a dual line of reporting to their respective CEOs and up through a separate operations team. This integrated operations organization is designed to enable the lines of business to work more collaboratively and consistently across the company while ensuring the right level of oversight.
He also announced an enhanced risk management structure with five line-of-business chief risk officers reporting to Chief Risk Officer Mandy Norton and a new head of the Operational Risk Management team.
“These changes create the right structure to build our businesses over the long term and increase our ability to successfully execute on our top priority, which is the risk, regulatory, and control work,” said Scharf.
To help chart the company’s future, major changes have been made at the senior leadership level. Scharf has built a leadership team composed of executives from inside and outside the company who have deep financial services experience and have turned around and run complex financial institutions.
Scharf has also moved quickly to bring in a number of new senior leaders who have been tasked with making fundamental changes to improve the culture of the company. The additions include a new chief financial officer; chief operating officer; CEO of Consumer Lending; CEO of Wealth & Investment Management; head of Operations; vice chair of Public Affairs; lead control executive; general counsel, and head of the newly established Strategy, Digital & Innovation team.
Other hires have been made in key areas across the enterprise, including Cards, Retail and Merchant Services; Corporate Controller; Corporate Communications; Social Impact & Sustainability; Corporate Risk; Government Relations & Public Policy; Sales Practices Oversight & Management; Strategy and Operations Planning; and Technology.
In addition to the changes made at the senior leadership level, the Board has focused on enhancing its composition, oversight, and governance practices. The Board has conducted a thoughtful, deliberate refreshment process. Over a majority of the Board’s independent directors joined the Board since January 2017, and the Board has rotated six of seven Board committee chair roles. As part of the process, Charles H. Noski was named Board chair on March 9. The retired vice chair and former chief financial officer of Bank of America joined Wells Fargo’s board in June 2019.
Recognizing the criticality of employees in making the changes underway at the company successful, on March 4 Scharf announced that Wells Fargo will be raising the minimum hourly pay in a majority of its U.S. markets. Minimum pay will be tiered based on various factors, including the cost of living in different areas of the country, with the minimum hourly pay ranging from $15 to $20 depending on employee location. The pay increases go into effect in December 2020.
In October, the company announced significant investments to help make health care more affordable for its employees by lowering premiums, copays, and deductibles in many plans. For 2021, medical plan premiums will remain flat for almost 54,000 employees and will be lowered for more than 20,000 employees.
To help employees build their retirement savings, Wells Fargo recently announced a new base contribution of 1% of certified compensation that will be made to the 401(k) Plan accounts for eligible employees whose annual compensation is less than $75,000, which is in addition to the company’s matching contribution and a possible discretionary contribution.
Expanding diversity and inclusion actions
As the May 25 killing of George Floyd ignited calls for social justice around the world, Scharf announced a strengthened company commitment that would result in “meaningful change” toward its ongoing efforts to support diverse communities and foster a company culture that deeply values and respects diversity and inclusion.
On June 16, 2020, he announced goals to:
- Increase Black and African American representation in senior leadership over the next five years
- Expand diverse representation on the Operating Committee
- Institute anti-racism training for all managers.
- Directly tie compensation of Operating Committee members to improvement of diversity and inclusion in their areas of oversight.
In November, Kleber Santos joined the company as head of the newly created Diverse Segments, Representation and Inclusion, reporting directly to Scharf. The creation of this elevated role was one of several key initiatives Scharf announced in June 2020 as part of the company’s expanded commitments to diversity and inclusion.
Santos will be responsible for leading efforts to make the company a place where diversity is reflected at all levels and in every facet of the company’s operations, processes, and programs. He will be focused on creating a more diverse and inclusive working environment and partnering with Wells Fargo’s business leaders to deliver products and services specifically designed to meet the needs of diverse customer segments.
Wells Fargo has also announced its commitment to support a newly announced set of initiatives by the Business Roundtable focused on racial justice, equity, and efforts to create a more inclusive financial system.
Responding to the pandemic crisis
Scharf has led Wells Fargo’s far-reaching response to the COVID-19 crisis, including payment relief for millions of consumers, small businesses, and commercial customers; extra financial compensation for many employees, including those whose jobs require in-person services to customers; and a $23 million donation to the company’s WE Care Fund for employees who face financial hardship.
Under his leadership, the company has also helped nearly 194,000 businesses receive $10.5 billion in loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Program and donated approximately $400 million – its total gross PPP fee revenue — to nonprofits that assist small businesses. Among other moves, it donated $175 million to nonprofits that support communities and populations that are hardest hit by COVID-19 and thousands of grants to nonprofits that provide housing assistance the vulnerable populations.
“While the path to recovery from the pandemic is uncertain, the work in front of us is clear and demanding,” Scharf said. “Our No. 1 priority remains building out the risk and control environment that will ultimately allow us to meet our regulatory obligations. Nothing can or will stand in the way of this work.
“We must also do what it takes to become more efficient regardless of our operating environment, which will allow us to be a source of strength for customers, communities, and employees,” he added. “I know many have worked hard on these efforts, but we have not yet accomplished what’s required, and there is more difficult work ahead. To live up to our potential, we must all take part in making the cultural and structural changes needed.”
The opportunity ahead
While Wells Fargo is undergoing a tremendous amount of change, Scharf is quick to point out that it was his admiration for the company that led him to join as CEO, and he still sees the outstanding potential that lies ahead.
Part of the company’s potential lies in its ability to help customers achieve their own potential. An example of that can be seen in Wells Fargo’s recently introduced Clear Access Banking, a checkless account that helps customers avoid spending more than the amount available in their account without incurring overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees. It is designed for consumers seeking an account to help manage their spending, or who are new to banking, such as young adults. Clear Access Banking also has been certified by the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund for meeting its Bank On National Account Standards for safe and appropriate financial products that can help people enter or re-enter the mainstream financial system.
The account is part of Wells Fargo’s broader effort to simplify its products and services, and make banking convenient and easy to understand. The new offering is a way for the company to help satisfy the financial needs of more customers and further expand access to mainstream banking services, said Mary Mack, CEO of Consumer and Small Business Banking.
Earlier this year, the company also announced plans to provide access to a suite of credit products to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, beginning this year and continuing into 2021. The efforts includes access to education loans, personal lines and loans, credit cards, auto loans, and small business credit. In addition, Wells Fargo will make mortgage and home equity loans to certain eligible DACA customers except where prohibited by specific investors. This expanded credit access was informed by ongoing engagement with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), which helped give the bank valuable insight into the needs of young DACA individuals.
“I firmly believe we have a great future in front of us,” Scharf said. “We have a group of businesses that are the envy of the industry. We have great market positions in an industry that will continue to grow as we enable our customers to succeed financially. We can and will do the work necessary to create the right environment inside the company to allow us to grow successfully. We know we have some challenges in front of us. I feel very confident that we know what we have to do, and we will get it done.”
Click or tap to view a timeline of our progress
- July 2020
- July 21 — Scharf announces that Mike Santomassimo will join the company in fall 2020 as Chief Financial Officer, reporting to the CEO and serving on the company’s Operating Committee.
- July 20 — Scharf announces that Ather Williams III will join Wells Fargo as Head of Strategy, Digital and Innovation, leading innovation priorities to drive transformation, reporting to the CEO and serving on the company’s Operating Committee.
- June 2020
- June 24 — David Owen joins the Chief Operating Officer team as Wells Fargo’s Chief Administrative Officer to drive execution and operational excellence.
- June 22 — Wells Fargo announces Michael Lipsitz as Chief Policy Advisor, leading corporate policy development and implementation as a member of the Public Affairs team. On Oct. 21, 2020, it was announced that Lipsitz would join the Chief Operating Officer (COO) organization as Chief Regulatory and Policy Affairs Executive.
- June 22 — Scharf announces that Barri Rafferty will join Wells Fargo as Head of Corporate Communications and a member of the Public Affairs leadership team.
- June 17 — Scharf announces that Barry Sommers will join Wells Fargo as CEO of Wealth & Investment Management, overseeing Wells Fargo Advisors, Private Wealth Management — comprised of The Private Bank and Abbot Downing — Wells Fargo Asset Management, reporting to the CEO and serving on the company’s Operating Committee.
- May 2020
- May 29 — Scharf announces an enhanced organizational structure to manage risk across the Company, including a new model with five line-of-business Chief Risk Officers reporting to Chief Risk Officer Mandy Norton. He also announced that Kevin Reen will join Wells Fargo as CRO of Consumer Lending, and Bill Juliano as Head of the Operational Risk Management team.
- May 18 — Brian Smith joins the Public Affairs leadership team as the head of Government Relations & Public Policy, leading Federal and State and Local Government Relations, Public Policy, Political Programs, and External Relations.
- May 13 — Scharf announces Nate Hurst will join the Public Affairs leadership team to lead Corporate Responsibility, Philanthropy, Community Relations, and Sustainability. He will also serve as President of the Wells Fargo Foundation.
- April 2020
- April 28 — Steven D. Black is elected to the Wells Fargo Board of Directors.
- April 27 — Scharf announces that Lester Owens will join the COO leadership team as Head of Operations, a new role responsible for building integration across Wells Fargo’s business operations functions serving on the Operating Committee.
- March 2020
- March 13 — Scharf announces that Ellen Patterson will join Wells Fargo as general counsel, overseeing all legal affairs as a member of the Operating Committee and reporting to the CEO.
- March 10 — Scharf announces that Wells Fargo plans to invest up to $50 million in African American Minority Depository Institutions. This investment is part of Wells Fargo’s commitment to African American communities.
- March 9 — Wells Fargo announced Chuck Noski as new Chair of the Wells Fargo Board of Directors following the resignation of Betsy Duke, who had been Chair; Jim Quigley also announced his resignation from the Board. Noski is a retired vice chairman and former chief financial officer of Bank of America Corporation.
- March 6 — Scharf announces a set of initiatives to accelerate the company’s building of a more diverse and inclusive workforce, including programs designed to increase diverse representation in senior-level roles.
- March 5 — Wells Fargo announces it will provide access to a suite of credit products to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients beginning this year and continuing into 2021.
- March 3 — Wells Fargo announces plans to introduce two bank accounts in 2021 that expand access to mainstream banking services: a checkless, no-overdraft-fee account, and an account that includes checks and will cap overdraft or insufficient funds fees at one per month.
- Feb. 18 — Scharf unveils an updated Risk Management Framework, a foundational document that includes clear and concise instructions on the approach to risk management across the company.
- Feb. 11
- Feb 11 — Andrew Heller joins as Strategy and Operations Planning leader, reporting to COO Scott Powell.
- Feb. 11 — Scharf announces that Mike Weinbach will join as CEO of Consumer Lending, which includes many of the products Wells Fargo’s customers interact with most closely — from home and auto loans to personal lines of credit.
- Feb. 11 — Scharf forms the new Corporate Strategy, Digital Platform & Innovation team to enhance the company’s focus on planning for the digital future and investing in the customer experience. The company is conducting a search for this new leader role, which will report to the CEO.
- Feb. 11 — Scharf unveils a flatter organizational structure that reorganizes leader responsibilities. This includes creating five principal lines of business to ensure clear authority, accountability, and responsibility. All line of business leaders will report directly to Scharf and will sit on Wells Fargo’s Operating Committee.
- Feb. 4 — Michael Cleary joins the COO leadership team as head of Sales Practices Oversight and Management to help ensure Wells Fargo has the right sales practices policies and procedures in place and customers have the necessary support when problems arise.
- January 2020 — Wells Fargo launches a transformational human resources program, New Experience for the Team (NEXT) HR. Under this multiyear program, the company will invest in leading technology and create policies to create a consistent team member experience globally.
- Jan. 21
- Jan. 21 — The Human Rights Campaign also awards Wells Fargo a 100% rating and the designation of being a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” for the 17th year in a row.
- Jan. 21 — Wells Fargo receives top honors for the second consecutive year by the Bloomberg 2020 Gender-Equality Index.
- Jan. 21
- December 2019
- Dec. 13 — Muneera Carr joins as Controller to manage corporate tax, accounting, and reporting, as well as activities such as financial controls and oversight policies, and processes for the company’s business groups and enterprise functions.
- Dec. 9
- Dec. 9 — Scott Powell joins as Chief Operating Officer, a new position created by Scharf to oversee regulatory execution and relations, enterprise shared services, and a range of operational functions across the company, and serve on the company’s Operating Committee.
- Dec. 9 — Scharf also announces plans to expand his leadership team to further build the company’s operations and controls, including a lead control executive to oversee control personnel across the enterprise, and a strategy and operations planning leader.
- Dec. 2 — Christel Kennedy joins as head of Business Continuity and Resiliency to help govern and execute the company’s Business Continuity Program and continue to integrate and strengthen the bank’s Corporate Security infrastructure.
- November 2019
- Nov. 25 — Ray Fischer joins as head of Cards, Retail and Merchant Services.
- Nov. 20 — Scharf announces leadership changes in the Payments, Virtual Solutions and Innovation Group, including the appointment of Ray Fischer, formerly of JPMorgan Chase, as head of Cards, Retail and Merchant Services.
- Nov. 7 — William M. Daley joins as Vice Chairman of Public Affairs and member of the Operating Committee.
- October 2019
- Oct. 29 — Scharf signs onto Business Roundtable’s Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, a clear statement that businesses are responsible to a broad set of constituents.
- Oct. 21 — Charlie Scharf officially joins as CEO and president of Wells Fargo and outlines his 10 guiding leadership principles, which underscore Wells Fargo’s responsibility to operate with the highest standards of integrity and fulfill commitments to a broad range of stakeholders.
- July 2020
For more about the company’s progress, see “Wells Fargo: Charting a New Future” (PDF).
New leaders at Wells Fargo
Charlie Scharf joins as Wells Fargo CEO and President
On Oct. 21, 2019, Charlie Scharf officially started his role as CEO and president.
With more than 24 years in the banking and payments industries — including most recently holding the position of chairman and CEO of Bank of New York Mellon, and prior to that, CEO of Visa — Scharf has a proven track record of initiating and leading change, driving results, strengthening operational risk and compliance, and innovating amid a rapidly evolving digital landscape, said Wells Fargo Board Chair Betsy Duke. Prior to his roles at BNY Mellon and Visa, Scharf held leadership positions at JPMorgan Chase, Bank One Corp, Citigroup, and Salomon Smith Barney.
“Charlie’s financial and business acumen, integrity, passion for diversity and inclusion, and commitment to strong talent management are important qualities considered by our board’s search committee,” Duke said. “I am delighted to welcome Charlie as our new CEO. Charlie is a proven leader and an experienced CEO who has excelled at strategic leadership and execution and is well-positioned to lead Wells Fargo’s continued transformation.”
William M. Daley joins as Vice Chairman of Public Affairs
On Nov. 13, 2019, Bill Daley joined as vice chairman of Public Affairs and member of the Operating Committee. In this role, Daley leads Corporate Communications, Government Relations & Public Policy, Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility, and Corporate Philanthropy & Community Relations.
Daley brings extensive experience in both the public sector and business, including serving as Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama and Secretary of Commerce in the Clinton administration. In addition, he served as Vice Chairman of BNY Mellon and as a member of the bank’s Executive Committee, as Vice Chairman and a member of the Executive Committee at JPMorgan Chase, and as President of SBC Communications (now AT&T).
“My experience with Bill is that he does not think like a banker,” Scharf said. “He is a strong voice who brings perspectives from the public sector that we in business do not generally have but are critical for us as we make decisions. The addition of Bill and this role to our Operating Committee is an important statement that we want different perspectives on our senior-most management committee and that we will think more broadly about our stakeholders as we move forward.”
Ray Fischer joins as head of Cards, Retail and Merchant Services
On Nov. 25, 2019, Ray Fischer joined to lead Cards, Retail and Merchant Services to lead development of innovative products and services enhancing customer and team member experiences.
“I have worked with Ray for many years, both at JPMorgan Chase and when I was at Visa,” Scharf said. “Ray has worked in financial services for nearly 40 years and has deep expertise in payments, cards, merchant services, and consumer finance.”
Fischer spent 14 years at JPMorgan Chase as chief financial officer of Card, Merchant Services & Auto Finance. While there, he was instrumental in negotiating and executing the Chase Merchant Services partnership with Visa that created a closed-loop payments platform for Chase cardholders and merchants. Following that role, he was vice chairman and administrative officer of the Kessler Group. Most recently, Fischer was a senior advisor to the Aries Financial Group, responsible for consulting with Fortune 1000 companies in the banking, payments, and public utilities industries on mergers and acquisitions, business development, operations, and marketing strategy and execution.
Christel Kennedy joins as head of Business Continuity and Resiliency
On Dec. 2, 2019, Christel Kennedy joined as head of Business Continuity and Resiliency, reporting to Saul Van Beurden, head of Technology. In this role, she helps define, govern, and execute the company’s Business Continuity Program and continue to integrate and strengthen the bank’s Corporate Security infrastructure.
Since 2015, Kennedy has held several roles at Santander Bank and most recently was the company’s chief operating officer and director of Change Management. During this time, she was responsible for bank operations supporting all consumer and commercial products and services while also overseeing the company’s incident management and business continuity processes.
Prior to joining Santander Bank, Kennedy held numerous technology, risk management, and business operations leadership roles at Citizens Financial Group, Inc., and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
“She has hands-on operational experience leading disaster recovery and business continuity planning and a track record of executing and driving transformational change,” Van Beurden said. “She will be a tremendous addition to Wells Fargo.”
Scott Powell joins as Chief Operating Officer
On Dec. 9, 2019, Scott Powell joined Wells Fargo as Chief Operating Officer, a new position created by Scharf to oversee regulatory execution and relations, enterprise shared services, and a range of operational functions across the company and serves on the bank’s Operating Committee.
Powell most recently was CEO of Santander Holdings USA, where he led the company’s financial turnaround, including resolving significant regulatory issues, implementing customer-focused oversight programs, and improving financial and operating controls.
“I have known Scott for many years, and his tremendous experience, proven track record and unquestioned integrity will make him a great addition to our management team,” Scharf said. “He’s the ideal person to take on this new position as we seek to transform Wells Fargo so that high-quality execution, clear accountability and operational excellence become unquestioned components of our culture.”
Muneera Carr joins as Controller
On Jan. 6, Muneera Carr joined as Controller, managing corporate tax, accounting, and reporting, as well as controllership activities such as financial controls and oversight policies and processes for the company’s business groups and enterprise functions.
Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Carr was chief financial officer for Comerica, Inc., which she joined in 2010. Carr has also worked in the Office of the Chief Accountant at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and for Bank of America, SunTrust, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas and is a certified public accountant.
“Muneera brings to our Controllers team deep knowledge and expertise that will help drive our continued transformation,” said Chief Financial Officer John Shrewsberry. “She will be a tremendous and valued addition to Wells Fargo.”
Michael Cleary joins as head of Sales Practices Oversight and Management
On Feb. 4, Michael Cleary joined as head of Sales Practices Oversight and Management, reporting to Chief Operations Officer Scott Powell, to ensure Wells Fargo has the right policies and procedures in place to prevent and ensure customers have the necessary support when problems arise.
“In this role, Michael will establish an integrated and consistent approach to sales practice monitoring, analytics, and reporting across the company. He will develop the go-forward framework and roadmap to ensure we have in place the right policies and procedures, controls, escalation points, and remediation protocols to comply with the various regulatory requirements and provide industry-leading sales practice oversight,” Powell said.
Cleary brings deep and relevant experience to this newly created role, Powell said. At Santander US, where he was co-president of Santander Bank and head of Consumer and Business Banking, Cleary’s responsibilities included Retail Banking, Business Banking, Home Lending, Wealth Management, Customer Experience, and Operations. Michael served on the CEO’s Executive Committee, the Sales Practices Committee, and the First and Second-Line Risk Committees, and drove key regulatory initiatives. Among his accomplishments were developing the frameworks, policies and procedures, and governance to comply with regulatory guidance for safety and soundness, consumer protection, information security, regulatory compliance, and new business initiatives.
Prior to joining Santander in 2015, Cleary was group executive vice president and head of U.S. Distribution at Citizens Bank. He has also held numerous executive roles at JPMorgan Chase. Cleary has an undergraduate degree from Princeton University and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
Mike Weinbach named CEO of Consumer Lending
In May, Mike Weinbach will join as CEO of Consumer Lending, which includes many of the products Wells Fargo’s customers interact with most closely — from home and auto loans to personal lines of credit. He will also serve on the Operating Committee.
“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to attract someone with Mike’s experience, skills and knowledge to Wells Fargo,” said Scharf. “He has a broad range of experiences in the consumer space and will be a great addition to our management team.”
Weinbach joins Wells Fargo after 16 years at JPMorgan Chase where he was most recently CEO of Chase Home Lending. Previously at Chase he held leadership roles across Consumer Banking, Business Banking, Home Lending, and Auto Finance in sales, finance, branch management, and operations. Before joining Chase, he founded a business focused on workplace motivation and held positions at Citigroup. He is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and earned his MBA at Harvard Business School.
“I am excited to join Wells Fargo and appreciate the opportunity to work with this remarkable franchise that serves over 70 million customers,” said Weinbach. “I am passionate about providing outstanding customer experiences and helping customers live better lives. I am eager to work with the Wells Fargo team to do just that.”
Andrew Heller joins as Strategy and Operations Planning leader
On Feb. 11, Andrew Heller joined as Strategy and Operations Planning leader. Heller joins from Santander US, where he was chief of staff to the CEO and head of transformation.
“Strategy and Operations Planning, led by Andrew Heller, will work with the COO leadership team to help drive our transformation agenda and provide project leadership, planning, and support across the COO team’s priorities,” said Chief Operating Officer Scott Powell.
Ellen Patterson joins as General Counsel
Effective March 23, Ellen Patterson joins at General Counsel, overseeing all legal affairs as a member of the Operating Committee and reporting to the CEO.
“Ellen is a seasoned lawyer with extensive experience in the financial services industry, where she has had responsibilities for managing and advising on global legal and regulatory compliance risks,” Scharf said. “She will play a critical leadership role on our Operating Committee as we continue to work on our company’s top priority of meeting regulatory expectations.”
Patterson joins Wells Fargo after more than seven years at TD Bank Group, where she most recently served as group head and general counsel responsible for leading the bank’s global Legal, Compliance, Anti-Money Laundering, Corporate Secretary, Global Security & Investigations, and Fraud Risk Management teams. Earlier, she served as general counsel for TD Bank’s U.S. banking operations. For the past two years, she has chaired TD Bank’s global Women in Leadership program, supporting programs and practices to advance the careers of a diverse group of female employees.
Patterson is a graduate of Columbia Law School and received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University. She has been recognized as one of 25 “Women to Watch” by American Banker in each of the past four years.
Lester Owens named Head of Operations
Lester Owens will join the COO leadership team in the newly created role of head of operations, responsible for building a more unified, more integrated approach to Wells Fargo’s business operations functions, the company announced April 27. Owens will report to Chief Operating Officer Scott Powell and will serve on the company’s Operating Committee.
“Lester is a highly regarded operations executive with more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry and a passion for excellence, customer experience, efficiency, and transformation,” said Powell. “While everyone at Wells Fargo shares the responsibility for operational excellence, Lester’s team will enable us to deliver the best experience possible for our customers while driving consistent execution across our business operations functions, including contact center operations, client servicing support, money movements within our businesses, lending operations, and other functions. We will all benefit from having Lester’s deep experience and talent in this critical role.”
Owens joins Wells Fargo from Bank of New York Mellon, where he was Global Head of Operations, responsible for a team of 20,000 employees supporting every stage of the client investment lifecycle, including account creation, trading, clearing and settlement, and asset servicing. Prior to joining BNY Mellon, he spent 10 years at JP Morgan Chase, where he was responsible for Global Wholesale Banking Operations, among other roles. Lester previously led significant operations functions for Deutsche Bank, Citibank, and Bankers Trust. Owens is a graduate of Long Island University and the Fairleigh Dickinson Executive MBA program.
Steven D. Black elected to Board of Directors
On April 28, Steven D. Black was elected to the Wells Fargo Board of Directors. Black has served as co-CEO of Bregal Investments, a private equity firm, since September 2012.
Black has more than 45 years of financial services experience, including at JPMorgan Chase & Co. where he served in leadership positions in its investment banking business. At JPMorgan Chase, he served as vice chairman from March 2010 to February 2011, and he also was a member of the Operating and Executive Committees.
“We are pleased to welcome Steve to the board,” said Charles Noski, Wells Fargo’s board chair. “Steve’s deep knowledge of the financial services industry and financial markets, as well as his expertise in strategy and solving problems gained from advising clients all over the world, will bring valuable insight to our board.”
During his time at JPMorgan Chase, Black held numerous roles including Investment Bank executive chairman from 2009 to 2010; co-CEO of the Investment Bank from 2004 to 2009; Investment Bank deputy co-CEO from 2003 to 2004; and head of the Investment Bank’s Global Equities business from 2000 to 2003. Prior to his time with JPMorgan Chase, Black worked at Citigroup Inc. and its predecessor companies.
“We are fortunate to be able to add Steve to the board,” Scharf said. “Our board and management team are working with a sense of urgency to drive important cultural and structural changes at Wells Fargo, and I look forward to working with Steve and the other directors to continue the transformation of our company.”
Nate Hurst joins Public Affairs leadership team
Effective June 1, Nate Hurst joins the Wells Fargo Public Affairs leadership team to lead Corporate Responsibility, Philanthropy, Community Relations, and Sustainability. He will also serve as President of the Wells Fargo Foundation.
“Nate brings a wealth of corporate citizenship, charitable giving, public affairs, and sustainability experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to Wells Fargo,” said Bill Daley, vice chairman of Public Affairs at Wells Fargo. “We look forward to having Nate continue to advance Wells Fargo’s commitment to addressing the needs of underserved communities, particularly as we work to ensure housing security, small business stability, and consumer financial health in the wake of the pandemic.”
In his new role at Wells Fargo, Hurst will oversee the alignment of Wells Fargo’s sustainability and corporate responsibility efforts with corporate philanthropy and community relations. The combined organization will drive innovation and maximize the positive societal, environmental, and economic impact that Wells Fargo brings to the communities it serves. Under Hurst’s leadership, the company will further integrate sustainability and corporate responsibility into all aspects of its business and explore how to further utilize business expertise to help solve societal problems.
Hurst joins Wells Fargo from HP Inc., where he was chief Sustainability & Social Impact officer responsible for driving HP’s global giving, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility into its core businesses. Hurst led a global team of experts to innovate sustainable solutions in collaboration with customers, partners, governments, and nonprofits. In 2019, HP climbed to No. 1 on Newsweek’s Most Responsible Companies list.
Previously, Hurst served as the director of Sustainability, Public Affairs & Government Relations for Walmart, where he helped integrate sustainability into the business and align the community giving strategy with core customer needs. As a member of The White House Council on Environmental Quality for former U.S. President Bill Clinton, he helped develop the administration’s environmental policy agenda and executed a stakeholder engagement plan on leading issues such as climate change; and as national spokesperson for The Ocean Conservancy, Hurst spearheaded big ideas to reduce ocean plastic and led communications strategies, international coastal cleanups, and community grassroots campaigns.
A strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, Hurst has a proven track record of being inclusive of diverse perspectives. He was an executive ally for HP’s LGBTQ community and has led efforts to advance gender equality programs and ensure access to learning for women and girls. He served on the United Nations’ Women Global Innovation Coalition for Change, and while at HP he championed technology products and external programs that focus on gender equality, education and achievement, youth entrepreneurship, and socially responsible business.
Brian Smith joins as head of Government Relations & Public Policy
On May 18, Brian Smith joined the Public Affairs leadership team as the head of Government Relations & Public Policy, leading Federal and State and Local Government Relations, Public Policy, Political Programs, and External Relations.
New Corporate Risk leaders announced
On May 29, Wells Fargo announced the appointment of two new Corporate Risk leaders and an enhanced organizational structure designed to provide greater oversight of all risk-taking activities and a more comprehensive view of risk across the company. The new risk model will have five line-of-business Chief Risk Officers along with other teams aligned by risk type, each reporting to Wells Fargo CRO Mandy Norton.
Kevin Reen, who most recently served as JPMorgan’s CRO for its Card Services business, will join Wells Fargo in August as CRO of Consumer Lending and will report to Norton. The company will conduct a search for the new CROs for its Commercial Banking, Consumer & Small Business Banking, Corporate & Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management businesses.
In addition, Bill Juliano, who most recently served as Consumer and Business Banking CRO and U.S. Chief Operational Risk Officer at Santander Bank, will join Wells Fargo in July to lead the Operational Risk Management team, reporting to Norton.
“Kevin and Bill bring extensive experience and leadership to these significant roles. They will be a vital part of my leadership team as we continue to strengthen and transform our risk program under this new organizational structure,” said Norton.
Barry Sommers joins as Wells Fargo Wealth & Investment Management CEO
On June 22, Barry Sommers joined the company as CEO of Wealth & Investment Management, reporting to CEO Charlie Scharf. Sommers will have responsibility for the company’s delivery of wealth management, investment, and retirement products and services to clients through its U.S.-based businesses, including Wells Fargo Advisors, Private Wealth Management — comprised of The Private Bank and Abbot Downing — and Wells Fargo Asset Management. He will become a member of the company’s Operating Committee.
“Barry is a proven leader with deep experience in wealth management. He knows asset management, brokerage, and private banking intimately and also what it takes to build a successful wealth management business inside a large bank. His experience, knowledge, and energy will be welcome as we continue our transformation,” said Scharf.
Until April 2019, Sommers was CEO of Wealth Management at JPMorgan Chase, where he was responsible for its private bank and brokerage businesses. Sommers also served as CEO of the Consumer Bank, where he managed the bank branch network. Before that, he spent time as the CEO of Chase Wealth Management, where he helped build the Chase Private Client Services business. He also served as the CEO of J.P. Morgan Securities. Previously in his career, Sommers was a senior managing director for Bear Stearns, serving as CEO for the private client business; prior to that he was responsible for the mutual fund business. He also spent time at Goldman Sachs in its asset management division.
Barri Rafferty joins to lead Corporate Communications
On July 7, Barri Rafferty joined the company to lead the Corporate Communications function. She will report to Bill Daley, vice chairman of Public Affairs, and sit on the company’s Management Committee.
“Barri is a strategic and collaborative leader with deep experience in communications strategy, change management, brand marketing, and business transformation,” said Daley. “We look forward to her leadership as we redefine the company’s culture, voice, and narrative.”
Rafferty joins Wells Fargo from Ketchum, where she was the agency’s president and CEO — the first woman at the time to be the CEO of a top-five public relations agency. Her accomplishments as CEO at Ketchum include repositioning the agency to better adapt to meet the needs and challenges of today’s global and digital marketplace. Under her leadership, the agency won significant recognition, including being the most-awarded PR firm at Cannes 2019, 2018, and 2017.
Kristy Fercho joins as head of Home Lending
On July 9, Wells Fargo announced that Kristy Fercho will join the company at the beginning of August as the new head of Wells Fargo Home Lending. Fercho has 18 years of leadership experience in the mortgage industry and will replace Michael DeVito, who has announced plans to retire later this summer after more than 23 years with Wells Fargo.
“Kristy is a customer-first business leader with deep home lending experience. She has been an inspiring and vocal leader across the mortgage industry while driving transformational growth at Flagstar,” said Mike Weinbach, CEO of Consumer Lending at Wells Fargo. “Buying a home remains one of the most important financial decisions our customers will make in their lifetime, and Kristy is the right person to help us ensure that no one can do it better for them than Wells Fargo.”
Fercho will join the company from Flagstar Bank, where she has served since 2017 as president of the company’s mortgage division. Prior to joining Flagstar, she spent 15 years with Fannie Mae, where she led the strategy and business performance of single-family customers in the western United States and also served in customer engagement and human resources roles. Fercho began her career and served in a variety of sales, operations, and human resources roles at Baxter International before moving to Pepsico Inc., where she ultimately was director of worldwide corporate human resources.
Ather Williams III joins as head of Strategy, Digital and Innovation
On July 20, Wells Fargo announced that Ather Williams III will join the company in October 2020 as head of Strategy, Digital and Innovation. Williams will report to CEO Charlie Scharf and serve on the company’s Operating Committee.
“Ather is a strong, experienced leader with nearly three decades of global banking experience and deep expertise in strategic planning and delivering digital and innovative solutions for customers and clients,” Scharf said. “He is uniquely qualified to lead this group that aligns our strategic, long-term planning efforts with our strong focus on creating a more innovative, digitally enhanced company.”
In his role, Williams will lead corporate strategic planning; define and manage digital platform standards and capabilities; and manage innovation priorities, opportunities, and companywide efforts to drive transformation. His team will work closely with the company’s Technology Group and business lines to deliver digital solutions and innovation to customers that are integrated, intuitive, and seamless across channels. The formation of this group was part of the company’s February 2020 organizational announcement.
Mike Santomassimo joins as New Chief Financial Officer
On July 21, Wells Fargo announced that Mike Santomassimo will join the company in fall 2020 as Chief Financial Officer. Santomassimo will report to CEO Charlie Scharf and serve on the company’s Operating Committee. He will succeed John Shrewsberry, who has announced plans to retire following a successful 22-year career with Wells Fargo, including the last six years as the company’s CFO. Shrewsberry will continue in his role as CFO until Santomassimo joins the company and will assist with the transition thereafter.
“Mike is a strategic-minded CFO with success in building and leading global finance teams that help drive business improvement,” Scharf said. “His experience as the CFO of one of the other seven Globally Systemic Important Banks in the U.S. puts him in a unique position to have immediate impact on Wells Fargo. He is action oriented and will be an important partner to me and our entire Operating Committee as we move our company forward.”
Santomassimo has more than 20 years of leadership experience in banking and finance. He joins Wells Fargo from BNY Mellon, where he was CFO since 2018. In addition to leading Finance at BNY Mellon, Santomassimo was responsible for the firm’s regulatory relations, enterprise resiliency office, third-party governance, and other corporate services. Previously, he served as CFO for the company’s Investment Services businesses. Prior to joining BNY Mellon, he spent 11 years at JPMorgan Chase in a number of key finance leadership roles, including CFO for Banking, which included Investment Banking (advisory and equity & debt capital markets) and Treasury Services. He also served as CFO of JPMorgan’s Securities Services & U.S. Private Banking businesses. He began his career at Smith Barney, where he held a variety of roles including as co-head of the Strategy and Finance team for the brokerage division.
Kleber Santos joins as head of Diverse Segments, Representation and Inclusion group
Effective November 9, Kleber Santos joined Wells Fargo as the head of the newly created Diverse Segments, Representation and Inclusion group. In this role, Santos will be responsible for leading efforts to make the company a place where diversity is reflected at all levels and in every facet of the company’s operations, processes, and programs. He will be focused on creating a more diverse and inclusive working environment and partnering with Wells Fargo’s business leaders to deliver products and services specifically designed to meet the needs of diverse customer segments. He will report to CEO Charlie Scharf and serve on the company’s Operating Committee.
“Kleber brings a unique set of leadership and business skills that, combined with his experiences driving diversity and inclusion outcomes, will enable us to drive meaningful change throughout the organization and better serve our diverse customer base and underserved communities,” Scharf said.
Santos joins Wells Fargo from Capital One, where he worked for 15 years in a number of senior roles, most recently as president of Retail and Direct Banking, accountable for the division’s revenue, product development and marketing, branches and ATMs, and operations. As a member of Capital One’s executive team, Santos was deeply engaged in diversity efforts, including in the development of products and services and in partnering with community and consumer advocacy groups. Additionally, he helped advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace by enhancing his division’s recruiting efforts to require more diverse candidate pools and interview panels, helping introduce diversity-focused training and retention programs, launching a formal mentoring program, significantly increasing diverse representation on his leadership team, and chairing the Retail and Direct Banking Diversity Council.