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Wells Fargo: Covid delays hopes for a turnaround

A drastic management overhaul will please some, but chief executive Charles Scharf still has much to do – especially after Covid-19.

Charles Scharf
Charles Scharf, CEO and president of Wells Fargo

Receiving a $3 billion penalty for one of the biggest mis-selling scandals in history could hardly be described as a good start to the year for any bank – or a good beginning for a new chief executive. But Wells Fargo’s settlement with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) in early 2020 will hopefully be the peak of the litigation and customer remediation costs it has suffered for setting up millions of fake accounts (among other consumer abuses) in the first decade and a half of the 21st century.

Under Charles Scharf, who joined as chief executive in October 2019, the resolution of these matters at the DoJ could be a chance to move on and rebuild the firm’s reputation.

Formerly chief executive of Bank of New York Mellon, Scharf has set about overhauling the bank’s senior management. He began in late 2019 with the appointment of chief operating officer, Scott Powell – someone with ample experience of managing regulatory obstacles as ex-chief executive of Santander Holdings USA.


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