Banking

Hecklers Taunt Wells CEO During Annual Meeting

Wells Fargo‘s interim CEO faced critics at the company’s annual meeting in Dallas. C. Allen Parker was interrupted more than a dozen times during his opening remarks, with hecklers shouting “frauds” and “criminals” as he tried to speak. “Wells Fargo, you cannot be trusted,” one person yelled, according to Bloomberg.

“One of the wonderful things about shareholder democracy in this country is that we have meetings like this,” Parker said.

However, as hecklers voiced their displeasure with the bank’s lenders, investors showed their support by approving Chair Betsy Duke and the rest of Wells Fargo’s board, with an approval of at least 95 percent support — the highest rate since 2016.

In the meantime, Parker is temporarily leading the San Francisco-based company after former CEO Tim Sloan stepped down, following the firm’s many scandals. The search for a permanent replacement is still underway, and the company said it won’t give additional updates until a final decision has been made.

The meeting served as a chance for shareholders and their representatives to criticize Wells Fargo over the bank’s scandals, as well as pressure executives and directors on issues, including supporting low- and moderate-income consumers, and financing oil and gas companies. One former employee in attendance said she left Wells Fargo over corruption at the bank. Parker responded that changes have since been made “to make sure inappropriate things do not occur.”

Activist Bruce Marks, who was thrown out of the annual meeting two years ago, demanded that directors reveal what they knew about abuses, and called on the bank to support a program to aid car buyers. As a result, one activist called on Marks to become the next CEO, which drew laughs from the audience. For his part, Parker said he was willing to speak with Marks about the issue.

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