Wells Fargo's top risk manager in the division where bank employees are suspected of falsifying more than 2 million customer accounts has taken a leave of absence and was replaced in that role.

Claudia Russ Anderson, 58, who began a six-month unpaid leave Monday, was succeeded in August by Vic Albrecht, 57, who held a similar job in the wealth-management division, said Richele Messick, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco-based lender. Anderson's leave was announced to staff in June, said Messick, who didn't elaborate when asked whether it was tied to an investigation by authorities into the bogus accounts. Anderson didn't immediately reply to phone and e-mail messages seeking comment.

"Claudia decided to take a personal leave of absence for personal reasons," Messick said in a phone interview.

The leave takes effect a day before Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf is scheduled to testify before the Senate Banking Committee. On Sept. 8, U.S. regulators including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined Wells Fargo $185 million to settle an investigation into the unauthorized accounts. Stumpf, 63, has placed much of the blame on junior employees such as bank tellers. The lender said it fired 5,300 workers over five years, and that 10 percent of them were managers.

Minneapolis Based

Anderson was the group risk officer for the community banking division, the name Wells Fargo gives to its retail business, and was based in Minneapolis, Messick said. She reported to the head of that unit, Carrie Tolstedt, 56, whose retirement was announced in July.

Wells Fargo told employees on June 7 that Anderson would begin leave starting in August, but the timing of her vacation pushed the effective date to Monday, Messick said. Albrecht, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, will report jointly to Tolstedt's replacement, Mary Mack, and Mike Loughlin, Wells Fargo's chief risk officer.

Anderson began her career in 1980 at a predecessor company, which merged with Wells Fargo in 1998, according to a 2010 conference biography. She graduated from the College of St. Scholastica, in Duluth, Minnesota, with a bachelor's degree in management.

Wells Fargo climbed 1.2 percent to $45.99 at 1:07 p.m. in New York. The stock has tumbled 15 percent this year, the worst performance in the 24-company KBW Bank Index.

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