Wells Fargo execs lobby to keep interim CEO

by Ryan Smith13 May 2019

Wells Fargo’s board is still searching for a candidate to replace ousted CEO Tim Sloan – but many top executives are pushing to make the interim chief’s job permanent.

Interim CEO Allen Parker joined the embattled bank in 2017 to help it clean up its numerous scandals. He became acting CEO after Sloan’s departure in March – but the bank’s board has said it’s looking for an outsider to take over, according to a Bloomberg report.

But some senior executives are lobbying to keep Parker on as the permanent CEO. The executives see keeping Parker as a way to foster continuity in the company, Bloomberg reported. But it’s an open question as to whether the board – or the bank’s most vocal critics – would be keen on the idea.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has been one of Wells Fargo’s most strident critics, has demanded that it stop promoting from within. Warren regularly blasted former CEO Tim Sloan, who served as the bank’s CFO and COO before taking the top job, as an insider who helped oversee the bank’s misdeeds for years before its scandals became public.

“As CFO and COO, Tim Sloan helped enable (the bank’s bad behavior),” Warren tweeted earlier this year. “He got rich off it. And he tried to cover it up. How’s he the right guy to help clean up the mess?”

But Parker may not quite qualify as an insider, Bloomberg pointed out – he joined the company just two years ago, specifically to help the bank clean up its image. And finding a person with the experience to lead a financial behemoth like Wells Fargo is a daunting task; there simply aren’t that many people in the world with the right qualifications, and many of them might not be interested in hitching their wagon to the scandal-ridden bank.

For now, however, the bank seems to have set its sights on finding a complete outsider to take the job, Bloomberg reported. After Sloan resigned in March, Wells Fargo Chair Betsy Duke vowed to recruit a replacement from outside the company to “complete the transformation.”