Wells Fargo courts BofA exec for CEO job

by Ryan Smith16 Jul 2019

Wells Fargo has been searching for a permanent CEO for more than three months, but the scandal-ridden bank has had trouble finding takers. Now Wells Fargo is in talks with a top Bank of America exec to take the job, according to a Bloomberg report.

Wells Fargo is in talks with Cathy Bessant, BofA’s head of technology and operations, to replace former CEO Tim Sloan, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. Sloan abruptly stepped down in March amid increasing criticism of his handling of the bank’s many scandals.

Bessant has spent decades at Bank of America and its predecessors, Bloomberg reported. She runs operations that serve consumers, small businesses and corporations, She also has valuable experience overhauling internal systems and working with regulators, Bloomberg reported – a valuable asset as Wells Fargo attempts to rebuild its image after repeated revelations of customer abuses.

Bessant isn’t the only executive the Wells Fargo board is considering – and senior executives at the bank have been pushing to keep interim CEO Allen Parker in the top slot. However, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has said that it expects the bank to choose an outsider for the position, Bloomberg reported.

“We are aware that the Wells Fargo board has stated it is seeking external candidates to fill the CEO position,” the OCC said in a statement last month. “And we support that criteria.”

The OCC has said that it will exercise a little-used power to approve the company’s pick for CEO.