Wells Fargo Could Name Interim CEO As Permanent Replacement

Wells Fargo & Co., the bank still reeling from its fake account scandal, could name interim Chief Executive Allen Parker as its permanent CEO.

Reuters, citing two sources familiar with the Wells Fargo’s boards thinking, said the board is mulling Parker even though it has said in the past it would look for an executive outside of Wells Fargo to lead the bank. Parker was named acting CEO in March after ex-CEO Tim Sloan resigned, citing pressure from lawmakers and regulators. Sloan has been under fire, with U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren saying his thirty years at Wells Fargo make it difficult for him to change the culture of the bank. Sloan was the second CEO to leave Wells Fargo in wake of the fake account scandal. The bank has also faced billions of dollars in fines and is under investigation by different regulators.

While the board wanted to hire a CEO outside of Wells Fargo, the search has been difficult — partly because it’s not clear if Wells Fargo could pay a high enough salary to lure leaders from rival banks. The CEO pick would also face a lot of scrutiny by U.S. regulators, which complicated the CEO search. Reuters reported board members started getting more comfortable with Parker being named the permanent CEO after winning over investors, regulators, and employees.

Sources told Reuters that Parker joined in 2017, so he can’t be tied to any scandals. His two years at the helm, noted Reuters, gives him the understanding necessary to fix any remaining problems.  The report noted it could be months before the board comes to a final decision.

If Wells Fargo decides to appoint Parker, it could result in even more scrutiny from politicians who had called for an outsider to take over. It would make some investors worry that the board can’t find anyone who wants to do the job, reported Reuters.  Under his charge, Wells Fargo has created a unit focused solely on the regulatory consent orders the bank has to operate under, which number 14.