Bank Watch

Wells Fargo replaces exec over risk management in community bank unit

Wells Fargo’s top risk manager in the unit at the center of an unauthorized-account scandal has taken a leave of absence and been replaced in that role, the San Francisco-based bank said Monday.
Wells Fargo’s top risk manager in the unit at the center of an unauthorized-account scandal has taken a leave of absence and been replaced in that role, the San Francisco-based bank said Monday. AP

The top risk manager in the Wells Fargo unit at the center of an unauthorized-account scandal has taken a leave of absence and been replaced in that role, the San Francisco-based bank said Monday.

Minneapolis-based Claudia Russ Anderson, 58, started a six-month unpaid leave on Monday, Wells Fargo said. In August, she was succeeded by Vic Albrecht, 57, who held a similar post in the bank’s wealth-management operation, according to the bank.

The move comes after Wells Fargo agreed this month to pay $185 million in government fines to resolve claims employees opened millions of accounts that may not have been authorized by consumers. Wells Fargo employees secretly opened the accounts to hit sales targets and receive bonuses, regulators alleged, adding that some customers were then hit with fees or other charges because of the bogus accounts. The bank did not admit or deny allegations in agreeing to the settlement.

“Claudia Russ Anderson made a personal decision to take a leave of absence. Her position has been filled in her absence,” Wells Fargo spokeswoman Richele Messick said in a statement.

When asked whether Anderson’s leave was connected to allegations that led to the bank’s fine, Messick reiterated that it was a “personal decision.”

Anderson was group risk officer for the community banking unit where the uanuthorized accounts were opened. She reported to Carrie Tolstedt, 56, who announced in July she was retiring at the end of this year. Tolstedt was replaced July 31 by Charlotte-based executive Mary Mack.

Asked if any other executives in the unit are taking leaves of absence, Messick said she was not aware of any other leadership changes.

Wells Fargo said it told employees on June 7 that Anderson would be taking leave. The move took effect on Monday.

Like Mack, Albrecht is a former executive for Charlotte-based Wachovia, which Wells Fargo acquired in 2008.

Albrecht is based in Charlotte, where Wells Fargo has its largest employment hub, and will report to Mack. Albrecht will also report to Mike Loughlin, Wells Fargo’s chief risk officer, who is based in San Francisco.

Anderson’s leave was first reported by Bloomberg.

On Tuesday, Wells CEO John Stumpf will be in Washington to testify before the Senate Banking Committee about the bank’s practices.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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