Bank Watch

Wells Fargo’s new chairman gets pay bump

A man passes by a Wells Fargo bank office in Oakland, Calif., in this July 14, 2014, file photo.
A man passes by a Wells Fargo bank office in Oakland, Calif., in this July 14, 2014, file photo. AP

Wells Fargo board director Stephen Sanger is getting a sizable bump in pay to go along with his duties as independent chairman of the San Francisco-based bank.

The company’s board Thursday announced a bylaws change requiring Wells’ CEO and chairman posts be held by different people, a move made after chief executive John Stumpf stepped down in October amid the bank’s sales scandal. Sanger, chairman since Stumpf left, will receive an annual retainer of $250,000, higher than the $60,000 retainer in his previous role as lead director, the board also disclosed Thursday.

To be sure, Sanger, a Wells Fargo director since 2003 and former CEO of General Mills, will also receive new responsibilities as chairman of a bank tasked with repairing its reputation since news of the sales scandal erupted in September.

Wells Fargo remains under intense political and regulatory scrutiny following authorities’ claims employees opened millions of customer accounts potentially without authorization to meet aggressive sales goals. Additional federal probes have also been opened into the bank’s practices.

The bank’s board did not immediately provide comment.

Sanger, 70, who is also on the board of Pfizer, was among Wells Fargo’s highest-compensated directors in 2015. He earned a total of $382,027, which included $180,027 in stock and $202,000 in cash.

In addition to losing his lead director retainer, Sanger will also no longer receive fees to chair board committees, under the bylaws change. Sanger currently chairs Wells’ governance and nominating committee, a role that paid $25,000 last year, according to a securities filing.

A source familiar with the matter said Sanger will remain chair of that committee. Sanger also sits on the bank’s human resources and risk committees.

Of the largest U.S. banks, Wells Fargo is the only one aside from Citigroup that splits its chairman and CEO roles.

Citigroup, which has had an independent chairman since 2009, gave Chairman Michael O’Neill $500,000 in compensation last year, all of which was in cash. Like Sanger, O’Neill is a non-employee director.

Also Thursday, Wells Fargo disclosed it will pay an annual retainer of $100,000 to its independent vice chairman, a role given in October to Elizabeth Duke, a director since January 2015.

Duke received $354,414 in total compensation from Wells in 2015.

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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