Wells Fargo board hits refresh

by Francis Monfort17 Aug 2017
Wells Fargo has announced changes to its board amid a stream of legal and regulatory challenges.

The nation’s largest mortgage lender said that Elizabeth Duke was named to succeed Stephen Sanger as independent chair. Additionally, the bank announced that three directors will retire by the end of the year and a new independent director will be added to the board.

Duke will serve as board chair effective Jan. 1. A former member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, she has been on the Wells Fargo board since January 2015 and has served as vice chair since October 2016. Sanger will assist in the transition until his retirement.

“Betsy was the unanimous choice to lead the board as it continues its focus on strengthening oversight and rebuilding the trust of shareholders, customers, and other stakeholders,” Sanger said. “Her broad understanding of the financial system and markets combined with years of main street community banking experience make her the ideal chair to work with the rest of the board and [President and CEO] Tim Sloan as Wells Fargo continues to move forward.”

Additionally, the board elected Juan Pujadas to serve as an independent director, effective Sept. 1. Pujadas is a retired principal of PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he led the firm’s advisory practice and led the global risk management solutions practice for the Americas, among other posts.

Cynthia Milligan and Susan Swenson will also retire from the board at the end of 2017. With these moves, the Wells Fargo board will have 13 members, including 12 independent directors having six years of average tenure.

The change comes as Wells Fargo continues to be hit by scandals. The company was most recently named defendant in a lawsuit that claims it overcharged small businesses for processing credit card transactions. It has also settled a lawsuit relating to VA refinance loans for $108 million. Additionally, the bank recently disclosed that it may have charged car buyers unnecessary insurance, leading to several defaults and repossessions.

Related stories:
Wells Fargo accused of ripping off small businesses
Wells Fargo settles lawsuit but CEO warns “more headlines” expected


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