Wells Fargo names new compliance chief, other risk executives

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Wells Fargo’s chief compliance officer, Mike Roemer, is leaving the post two and a half years after he was hired to help the then-scandal-plagued company clean up its compliance program.

Paula Dominick, the chief compliance officer at Credit Suisse USA, has been hired to replace him, Wells said in a news release Thursday. Dominick — who previously worked at Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — will start in October and be responsible for oversight of all regulatory compliance risks, the company said. The departures of Roemer and hire of Dominick were reported earlier in the day by the Financial Times.

The move was part of a broader effort at Wells to strengthen risk management, including the hiring or promotion of four line-of-business chief risk officers also announced Thursday. They are:

  • Brian King, in consumer and small-business banking. He most recently was CRO and head of finance for the consumer business at Goldman.
  • Ellen Koebler, in commercial banking. She was previously deputy CRO at Truist Financial, and CRO for its predecessor SunTrust Banks.
  • Prasanna Someshwar, in wealth and investment management. Her prior positions include CRO and chief credit officer for wealth management and the private bank at JPMorgan Chase.
  • Jeff Colson, in finance. Colson most recently was head of capital management at Wells, which he joined in 2015; his successor is expected to be named shortly.

In addition, Patrick Dillon was named enterprise testing and validation leader; his team will develop methodologies and standards for reviewing activities across the entire company. He joined Wells Fargo's risk organization two years ago and previously held compliance leadership roles at PNC Financial Services Group and Bank of America's merchant services unit.

Dominick, Dillon and the chief risk officers will report to Mandy Norton, Wells Fargo's chief risk officer.

"Our new model will strengthen our centralized, independent risk management program, provide greater consistency in how we manage risk across our businesses, and better position us for the future," Norton said in the news release.

Wells had said in May that it was enhancing its corporate risk model and that it had also hired Kevin Reen as chief risk officer of consumer lending and Bill Juliano as chief operational risk officer. A search is still ongoing for a CRO for corporate and investment banking, the company said.

An executive reshuffle has been underway at the San Francisco company since Charlie Scharf took over as chief executive in October. Last month, Wells announced that Mike Santomassimo, the chief financial officer at Bank of New York Mellon, would succeed longtime CFO John Shrewsberry, who will retire this fall.

Santomassimo is at least the sixth former colleague or former direct report of Scharf’s to be hired into a high-ranking position in the past 10 months. Other outsiders include Scott Powell as chief operating officer, Michael Cleary as head of sales practices oversight and management, Mike Weinbach as CEO of consumer lending, Barry Sommers as CEO of wealth and investment management and William Daley as vice chairman of public affairs.

In January 2018, Wells hired Roemer away from Barclays, where he was group head of compliance. Previously, he worked at CIT Group and JPMorgan.

Roemer came on board at a critical time for Wells. The company was mired in a fake-accounts scandal and other controversies that led to billions of dollars in penalties, increased regulatory oversight and a diminished reputation that Scharf has since been charged with restoring.

When Roemer joined Wells, then-CEO Tim Sloan called his hiring “an important step in our commitment to building a stronger compliance function and a better Wells Fargo.”

In its news release Thursday, Wells said Roemer will leave the company after a transition period.

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