The exodus continues at the scandal-plagued bank
In a continuation of the “board refreshment process” that began last year in response to widespread criticism over multiple scandals, Wells Fargo has announced the retirement of four board members – three of them the board’s longest-serving current directors.
John S. Chen, Lloyd H. Dean, and Enrique Hernandez Jr., the longest-serving current board members, and Frederico F. Peña, who was scheduled to retire in 2019, will all retire at the company’s 2018 annual shareholders’ meeting next month, the bank announced. As a result of the retirements, the board will nominate 12 of its current directors for election at the shareholders’ meeting.
The retirements are part of Wells Fargo’s ongoing attempt to clean up its act after spending most of the last two years rocked by scandal. The bank announced in early February that four board members would be leaving. At around the same time, the Federal Reserve slapped the bank with a consent order that restricted it from growing more than its current asset size.
Wells Fargo has been at the center of controversy over its business practices since it was revealed in 2016 that it had opened millions of unauthorized customer accounts. Since then, it’s been revealed that the bank charged thousands of customers for auto insurance they didn’t need, charged improper rate-lock fees to thousands of mortgage customers, and botched attempts to refund those same fees once they became public knowledge. The bank has also been accused of simply closing the accounts of customers who complained of fraudulent activity, and is being sued by both Sacramento, Calif., and Philadelphia for allegedly discriminating against black and Hispanic borrowers.
The bank’s various scandals led to the ouster of then-CEO John Stumpf in late 2016 and the resignation or retirement of several executives and board members.