Most Powerful Women to Watch: Wells Fargo
Since taking over as Wells Fargo’s chief executive last fall, Charlie Scharf has moved quickly to revamp the leadership ranks.
A handful of his key senior hires are women who will join longtime Wells’ leaders like Mary Mack in working to move the $1.9 trillion-asset company past the scandals that have tarnished its reputation in recent years and drawn the ire of the public and regulators alike.
Among the fresh recruits are Ellen Patterson and Muneera Carr.
Patterson, a familiar face in the Most Powerful Women rankings, succeeded C. Allen Parker as general counsel in March, having been recruited from TD Bank Group, where she had also been general counsel. “She will play a critical leadership role on our operating committee as we continue to work on our company’s top priority of meeting regulatory expectations,” Scharf said when announcing the hire.
Carr, formerly of Comerica, started in January as the new controller and added the title of chief accounting officer a few months later when Richard Levy announced his retirement after 18 years with the company.
Earlier arrivals include Julie Scammahorn as chief auditor in April 2019 and Mandy Norton as chief risk officer in June 2018, both of whom are also members of the operating committee. Scammahorn, a 10-year Marine veteran, had been chief auditor at Citibank, and Norton joined from JPMorgan Chase, where she was the chief risk officer for its consumer and community banking business.
All four women are in roles that are especially meaningful to the work Wells is doing to change its culture and improve its governance.
But perhaps the most important woman leading that charge is Mack, now CEO of consumer and small-business banking. She got that title in February, in what is just the latest expansion of her duties.
Mack took over as head of community banking in July 2016 in the wake of the phony-accounts scandal. Her role expanded to include consumer lending in late 2017, just as some practices in the mortgage and auto lending units were attracting regulatory scrutiny, and has continued to evolve since.
Mack — who moved to retail banking from her role as president of Wells Fargo Advisors — has been a significant catalyst for changing how Wells approaches cross-selling and sales goals.
Other senior women Wells will be looking to for leadership are Lisa McGeough, Kara McShane, Julia Wellborn and Julie Caperton.
McGeough was named head of Wells Fargo International in April. The first woman to hold the title, she has oversight of all international businesses, functions and operations across the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. She previously co-led the corporate and investment banking business.
McShane took over as head of commercial real estate in February, a unit within the corporate and investment bank that has been the country’s top CRE lender since 2009. McShane, who moved up from her previous role as head of structured real estate within that same group, now oversees a $160 billion-asset balance sheet of commercial and industrial loans and construction loans, along with a third-party servicing portfolio of about $600 billion.
Wellborn stepped into the newly created role of head of private wealth management in September 2019. Her unit combines Wells Fargo Private Bank and Abbot Downing, two businesses previously run independently within the wealth and investment management division. She joined Wells from Comerica, where she had been executive director of wealth management.
Caperton, who has appeared in the Most Powerful Women rankings several times, became head of wealth client solutions in February, after serving as head of corporate development for five years. Besides managing products and services for clients within Wells’ group of wealth businesses, Caperton oversees M&A business sales and advisory services for private companies.
Wells is perhaps the company that the industry is watching more than any other, and this unprecedented entry in our Most Powerful Women to Watch, citing a group of women in the senior ranks, seems fitting to us in a case where a team effort by so many individuals who are new to their roles — and often new o the company as well — will be crucial to its turnaround.
For the first time, American Banker's Most Powerful Women in Banking celebration is open to the whole financial community. Join us virtually October 6-8 to hear our 2020 honorees' stories and experiences. Register here.