Wells Fargo CEO quits in wake of massive bonus-hunting scandal

John Stumpf, chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo & Co., testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on Sept. 29, 2016. Wednesday, the bank announced that Stumpf has decided to retire effective immediately, and will be replaced by COO and President Tim Sloan. File Photo by Pete Marovich/UPI

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 13 (UPI) — It appears the continuing backlash over a massive consumer-related scandal that rocked Wells Fargo last month was too much for CEO John Stumpf to overcome.

The chief executive on Wednesday told the bank that he is stepping down from his post, effective immediately.

Though Wells Fargo didn’t specifically cite the scandal in its announcement, it said Stumpf decided to “retire” and let a new leader “guide Wells Fargo through its current challenges and take the company forward.”

Stumpf joined Wells Fargo in 1982, became its CEO in 2007 and took on the title of chairman in 2010.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have led Wells Fargo,” he said in a statement. “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.”

The bank’s board of directors elected Chief Operating Officer and President Tim Sloan to replace Stumpf as chief executive — a choice Stumpf himself praised.

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

Sloan is a 29-year veteran at Wells Fargo and became COO last November.

Last month, it was revealed that thousands of Wells Fargo employees created phony accounts and manipulated actual customer accounts in an effort to boost sales figures and meet quotas, which earned them financial bonuses. The bank responded by firing more than 5,000 employees involved in the scheme and pledged to end sales goals for employees beginning in 2017.

Stumpf also agreed to give up $41 million worth of vested stock, his 2016 year-end bonus and part of his salary over the scandal. He also appeared before a congressional committee and apologized for the scam.

“It’s a tremendous responsibility, one which I look forward to taking on, because of the incredible caliber of our people,” Sloan added.


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