Wells Fargo chief ‘retires’ after account scandal

Wells Fargo & Company said its chairman and chief executive John Stumpf is retiring from the bank, effective immediately — following the scandal in which bank staff opened customer accounts on a massive scale to meet sales targets without the customers’ permission.

Tim Sloan, the company’s president and chief operating officer, will succeed Stumpf immediately as CEO and is elected to the board, and Stephen Sanger, the bank’s lead director, will serve as non-executive chairman.

Independent director Elizabeth Duke becomes vice chair.

Wells Fargo has agreed to a $185 million settlement with regulators after it emerged that its employees opened up to two million unauthorized deposit and credit card accounts to meet sales targets.

Sanger said: “John Stumpf has dedicated his professional life to banking, successfully leading Wells Fargo through the financial crisis and the largest merger in banking history, and helping to create one of the strongest and most well-known financial services companies in the world.

“However, he believes new leadership at this time is appropriate to guide Wells Fargo through its current challenges and take the company forward.

“The board of directors has great confidence in Tim Sloan. He is a proven leader who knows Wells Fargo’s operations deeply, holds the respect of its stakeholders, and is ready to lead the company into the future.”

Stumpf joined Wells Fargo in 1982 as part of the former Norwest Bank, becoming Wells Fargo’s CEO in June 2007 and its chairman in January 2010.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have led Wells Fargo,” Stumpf said.

“I am also very optimistic about its future, because of our talented and caring team members and the goodwill the stagecoach continues to enjoy with tens of millions of customers.

“While I have been deeply committed and focused on managing the company through this period, I have decided it is best for the company that I step aside.

“I know no better individual to lead this company forward than Tim Sloan.”

Sloan said: “My immediate and highest priority is to restore trust in Wells Fargo.”