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Wells Fargo Has These Three Women on Short List for Top Job: New Reports

April 3, 2019

Following Tim Sloan stepping down from his post as CEO of scandal-plagued Wells Fargo, the company is reportedly considering several outside executives to replace him — and three of them are women, according to news reports.

The short list for the CEO position includes Marianne Lake, Cathy Bessant and Ruth Porat, one insider tells DealBreaker.

Lake is currently JPMorgan’s chief financial officer and also heads the company’s consumer-banking unit and is seen as a potential successor to the firm’s chairman and CEO, Jamie Dimon, Bloomberg writes.

Bessant is the chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America as well as a member of its executive management team, according to the company.

Porat currently serves as chief financial officer of Alphabet and its subsidiary Google, having previously served as CFO of Morgan Stanley, according to Bloomberg.

Jane Fraser, chief of Citigroup’s Latin America business, is another contender, according to Bloomberg.

"The list changes almost by the hour. Current front runner seems to be Bessant," a source tells DealBreaker. "They like her tech experience and being diverse.”

Another source tells DealBreaker that he’s heard that both Bessant and Lake are in the running.

“They definitely want a woman. They think it will appease [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren, [D-Mass.],” the source tells the industry news website.

Warren had been calling for Sloan’s departure for months, and tweeted that it was “about damn time” when Wells Fargo announced last month that’s he’s stepping down from his role as CEO effective immediately.

Also in the running, according to the insider, is Matt Zames, former chief operating officer at JPMorgan. Zames is currently president of private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, where he’s advising Deutsche Bank, according to Bloomberg, which first wrote about Zames as a top contender.

In 2017, Wells Fargo made Betsy Duke the first female chair of a large U.S. bank, according to Bloomberg. But aside from the aggressive sales practice allegations still plaguing the company’s operations, including its wealth management unit, Wells Fargo has faced allegations of discrimination against women among its top ranks.

Jay Welker, then head of Wells Fargo’s private bank as well as its wealth management business, announced last fall that he was retiring in March.

(Getty)

Welker had been the subject of an internal investigation following allegations that he had told female coworkers to put their “big girl panties on” and made remarks about how women need to stay home to take care of children.

In November, however, Jon Weiss, head of wealth and investment management and Welker’s former boss, told managers there was no gender bias in the wealth management unit, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the DealBreaker article cited in this story, click here.
  • To read the Bloomberg article cited in this story, click here.