Wells Fargo’s new CEO said Wednesday the San Francisco-based bank probably will continue growing its presence in Charlotte, which he called “a great place to do business.”
Tim Sloan spoke with the Observer hours after the bank’s board named him the successor to CEO John Stumpf, who is retiring amid a massive scandal over unauthorized accounts. Sloan, 56, is now tasked with repairing the image of a bank that has faced continued fallout since news of the scandal broke.
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Below are excerpts from the interview.
On Charlotte: In 2008, employees for Charlotte-based Wachovia were dismayed as they watched their bank teeter during the financial crisis. Wells Fargo purchased Wachovia to prevent it from collapsing, making Charlotte Wells’ largest employment hub. Eight years later, the accounts scandal has dealt another blow to the bank’s Charlotte workers.
When asked what his message is to Wells’ Charlotte employees, Sloan said “first, we love doing business in Charlotte. I think it’s an incredible place.”
Sloan said he recalls concerns that Wells Fargo was going to “empty out Charlotte” when it bought Wachovia and move employees elsewhere. Instead, Wells Fargo has continued to add employees in Charlotte, he said.
As for adding to the bank’s Charlotte employment of about 23,000: “My guess is we probably will,” Sloan said. “I don’t know the exact amount and which group. Charlotte’s just a great place to do business and a great place for our team members to live.”
Sloan also said he sometimes comes to the Charlotte region to visit his parents, who have lived in Davidson for about 12 years.
On when he learned of bad practices: In November, Sloan was promoted to chief operating officer and president, becoming boss to Carrie Tolstedt, who ran the community banking division at the center of the controversy.
On Wednesday, when asked when he learned of the unauthorized accounts, Sloan did not answer specifically. Instead he cited an ongoing investigation by the bank’s board into sales practices.
“I don’t want to get in front of or in any way, shape or form impact the independence of the board’s review and investigation,” he said. “I want to be very respectful of that.”
On whether he’ll give up compensation amid the scandal: Last month, the bank’s board announced Stumpf would forfeit all of his outstanding unvested equity awards, worth $41 million, because of the scandal.
The bank has not announced any similar actions against Sloan, who was awarded $11 million in total compensation for his work in 2015.
“As it relates to an impact on my compensation, that’s for the board to decide, and I’ll defer to them,” Sloan said.