Wells Fargo hires CFO away from BNY Mellon

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Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf has tapped another former colleague to join the leadership team of the scandal-plagued bank.

Mike Santomassimo, the chief financial officer at Bank of New York Mellon, will join San Francisco-based Wells as its CFO in the fall, the company announced Tuesday. He will succeed John Shrewsberry, who will retire after 22 years at Wells, including the last six as CFO.

Scharf was the CEO at BNY Mellon when Santomassimo was named CFO in 2018.

In a news release, Scharf said that Santamassimo will be “an important partner” to him at Wells.

“Mike is a strategic-minded CFO with success in building and leading global finance teams that help drive business improvement,” Scharf said in the news release. “His experience as the CFO of one of the other seven globally systemic important banks in the U.S. puts him in a unique position to have immediate impact on Wells Fargo.”

Scharf was named Wells Fargo’s CEO in October with a mandate of fixing the culture at the nation’s fourth-largest bank, which had been rocked by a series of scandals that have diminished its reputation and led to increased regulatory oversight.

Santomassimo is at least the sixth former colleague or former direct report that Scharf has hired into a high-ranking position since he took over.

Other outsiders that have joined the company in the past nine months 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.

All five have either worked with Scharf at JPMorgan, where he was a onetime protégé of Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, or BNY Mellon. Scharf is also a onetime CEO at Visa.

Like Scharf, Santomassimo will be based in New York. Of the bank’s 17-member operating committee, 10 are based in New York instead of San Francisco or Charlotte, N.C., where the bank’s senior-most executives have traditionally been based.

At BNY Mellon, Santomassimo oversaw regulatory relations, enterprise resiliency office, third-party governance and other corporate services, in addition to his role as CFO. Before joining BNY Mellon, he spent 11 years at JPMorgan in a variety of roles such as CFO for banking, which included oversight of investment banking and treasury services, and CFO of JPMorgan’s securities services and U.S. private banking businesses.

Scharf said he found out last October that Shrewsberry was thinking about retiring. But Shrewsberry, who was head of Wells Fargo Securities before his promotion to CFO, wanted to stay with the bank through the CEO transition and “believes that now is an appropriate time [to retire] since we have the operating committee largely in place,” Scharf said in the news release.

“During his time as CFO, he has played a significant role in executing numerous financial and operational initiatives while maintaining the company’s strong capital and liquidity positions,” Scharf said. “He is well-respected throughout the company and the financial community for his strategic insight as well as for his commitment and passion for building strong, personal relationships, and we are grateful for his many years of service to the company.”

Shrewsberry, who will stay on as CFO until Santomassimo begins, said he recommended him for the job.

“I have gotten to know Mike over the last couple of years. … He is an experienced, well-respected CFO and I am excited about what he will bring to Wells Fargo,” Shrewsberry said in the news release.

Santomassimo is the second high-ranking executive to be named this week.

On Monday, Wells Fargo announced that Ather Williams III will join the company in October as head of strategy, digital and innovation. Williams comes from Bank of America, where he most recently was head of business banking, and will oversee corporate strategic planning, digital platform standards and innovation priorities and opportunities.

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C-suite Wells Fargo Charles Scharf
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