Wells Fargo hires TD's Ellen Patterson as general counsel

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Wells Fargo has recruited TD Bank Group’s general counsel to be its own top lawyer, the San Francisco-based bank said Friday.

Ellen Patterson will succeed C. Allen Parker as general counsel of the $1.9 trillion-asset Wells Fargo on March 23. She will report directly to CEO Charlie Scharf and will sit on the bank’s operating committee.

Ellen Patterson worked for more than seven years at the Toronto-based TD Bank Group, most recently as its group head and general counsel
Ellen Patterson worked for more than seven years at the Toronto-based TD Bank Group, most recently as its group head and general counsel

“Ellen is a seasoned lawyer with extensive experience in the financial services industry, where she has had responsibilities for managing and advising on global legal and regulatory compliance risks,” Scharf said in a press release. “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.”

Patterson worked for more than seven years at the Toronto-based TD Bank Group, most recently as its group head and general counsel. In that role, she was responsible for legal, compliance, anti-money laundering, corporate secretary, global security and investigations, and fraud risk management teams.

Patterson has been named as one of American Banker’s Women to Watch for the past four years. She’s been credited with improving TD Bank’s diversity and inclusion programs and helping the bank to earn an “outstanding” Community Reinvestment Act grade from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Before she joined TD Bank, Patterson was a partner at the New York law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, where she advised financial institutions on mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, and corporate governance matters.

“I look forward to collaborating with leaders across the company to shape the culture, help businesses innovate, and produce the best outcomes for the customers and communities Wells Fargo serves,” Patterson said.

Her immediate predecessor, Parker, joined the bank as general counsel in 2017 to help guide the bank's regulatory policy in the wake of a series of scandals. He led Wells Fargo for six months while it searched for a new chief executive following Tim Sloan’s resignation last year. Shortly after Scharf joined Wells Fargo, the company announced that Parker would leave his post in March.

Parker’s predecessor, James Strother, is currently facing civil charges by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in connection with the fake accounts scandal that exploded into view in late 2016. He faces a potential $5 million fine.

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