By Rachel Louise Ensign and Colin Kellaher
Wells Fargo & Co. said Thursday that General Counsel C. Allen Parker, who recently served a stint as interim chief executive, will leave the bank at the end of March.
This marks the first departure from the executive management team since Charles Scharf took over as permanent CEO of the beleaguered bank in late October. When Mr. Scharf took the role, top regulators believed he was likely to reshuffle the bank's executive ranks, The Wall Street Journal has reported. More departures could be forthcoming.
The bank's board would be open to a shake-up of executive management, the Journal reported last month, citing a person familiar with the matter. Some top executives are company veterans, including Chief Financial Officer John Shrewsberry, payments executive Avid Modjtabai and wholesale bank head Perry Pelos.
Just weeks into the job, Mr. Scharf has already brought in one trusted lieutenant: Bill Daley, a banker who also served as President Barack Obama's chief of staff. Mr. Daley now oversees public policy and communications at Wells Fargo and reports to Mr. Scharf.
Mr. Parker, 64, joined Wells Fargo as general counsel in March 2017. He joined Wells Fargo from law firm Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP to help clean up after a fake-account scandal badly damaged the San Francisco bank's reputation and standing with regulators, politicians and the public.
Instead, the bank's problems only mounted. The Federal Reserve took the rare step of capping the bank's growth in February 2018, citing risk-management deficiencies. After Wells Fargo's then-CEO Timothy Sloan testified before Congress in March, with Mr. Parker seated directly behind him, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued an unusual rebuke, citing the firm's "inability to execute effective corporate governance and a successful risk management program."
Mr. Sloan abruptly stepped down weeks after his Congressional testimony, and Mr. Parker stepped in as interim president and CEO. He embraced the top job, facing down protestors at the bank's annual meeting and volunteering at a food pantry in a red Wells Fargo T-shirt.
Mr. Parker returned to his post as general counsel last month after Mr. Scharf, who previously ran Visa Inc. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp., took the reins.
There are some indications some of bank's regulatory issues are finally easing up. The bank has also said it started discussions to settle a joint Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission probe into the fake-account scandal. Last week, Wells Fargo agreed to pay more than $14 million to settle a U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission probe into its foreign exchange business.
Wells Fargo said it will immediately launch a search for a new general counsel with the goal of having Mr. Parker assist with the transition.
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