Mary Mack will step down as head of Wells Fargo Advisors in order to take on a bigger role in overseeing the company's 94,000-employee community banking unit, according to a spokeswoman.

A search for a replacement for Mack, 53, is already underway, the spokeswoman says.

Mack is replacing Carrie Tolstedt as head of community banking at Wells Fargo. Tolstedt, who helped the company build its retail branch network to 6,000 locations in 39 states, is retiring after 27 years at the San Francisco-based company. The community banking unit serves more than 20 million retail checking households and 3 million small-business owners, according to the company.

As head of the brokerage unit for the past two and a half years, Mack has overseen about 15,000 advisers managing $1.4 trillion in client assets. Like its chief competitors, the wirehouse has been increasingly encouraging its financial advisers to help cross-sell other banking products, such as mortgages and securities-based loans.

William Boland, a senior analyst at the research firm Aite Group, says that may have helped her land her new position. "She is very highly regarded, and has been a standard-bearer in terms of her willingness to work with the broader bank," he says.

Boland adds that Wells Fargo has also been known to promote brokerage executives within the company.

"It also fits well with Wells Fargo's history of rotating executives across different faculties," he says.

Last year, she oversaw the signing of a deal with Credit Suisse to give Wells Fargo the inside recruiting track on the Swiss bank's U.S.-based advisers, as Credit Suisse had plans to exit the U.S. wealth management market. But of the roughly 250 elite brokers — many multimillion-dollar producers — only about 110 joined Wells Fargo.

Many left to join rival firms like UBS.

Brand Meyer, who oversees the independent brokerage group at Wells Fargo Advisors, will serve as interim head of the unit starting July 31, the spokeswoman says.

Mack said in a statement she was excited to join Wells Fargo's Community Banking unit. There are new avenues for growth due to "expanding opportunities to add value to our customers' lives," she said.

In a statement, CEO John Stumpf praised the "organizational savvy and leadership skills" of Tolstedt and Mack.

Mack joined the firm through its merger with Wachovia, where she had served as head of wealth brokerage services.

She is the latest head of a major brokerage firm to depart. Earlier this year, John Taft retired as CEO of RBC Wealth Management-U.S. and Greg Fleming left as president of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.

Tolstedt has been part of American Banker's "Most Powerful Women in Banking" ranking since 2003. She was No. 4 in 2015.

In her role leading Wells Fargo Advisors, Mack has been listed among the "Most Powerful Women in Finance" for the past two years, moving up to No. 7 last year from No. 24 the previous year.

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