Wells Fargo taps former Obama man Daley to help mend bank’s image
New York — Wells Fargo’s new leader is starting to install lieutenants to help him right the bank.
CEO Charlie Scharf named Bill Daley, the former White House chief of staff in the Obama administration, as vice-chair of public affairs to improve relations with Washington, the firm said on Thursday in a statement. Daley already has the boss’s trust, having served as a top adviser when Scharf ran Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon).
Daley’s hiring marks Scharf’s first major leadership appointment since he took over the embattled San Francisco-based lender in October. It underscores one of his top challenges: rebuilding trust with regulators as well as federal and local legislators who have expressed dissatisfaction with the pace of reforms at the firm.
“It’s a big challenge, and it’s kind of exciting because at this stage in my life I’ve done a lot, I’ve been around of a lot of organisations, and you look at the size of this and the impact in America with new leadership,” Daley said in an interview.
The scandals and blowback from politicians across the country have been a drag on business and the bank’s stock for more than three years, outlasting two CEOs and an interim one who had made repairing relations a top priority. Wells Fargo has 14 outstanding consent orders with regulators, most notably a growth cap from the Federal Reserve.
“The addition of Bill and this role to our operating committee is an important statement that we want different perspectives on our senior-most management committee and that we will think more broadly about our stakeholders as we move forward,” Scharf said in the statement.
Daley, 71, will oversee areas including government relations, public policy, corporate communications, sustainability and corporate responsibility, and philanthropy. His role is akin to his most recent job at BNY Mellon, which he joined in June and left in October. His decades of experience across banking and politics will boost Wells Fargo’s efforts to close the door on its years of scandals.
Daley, the scion of a legendary Chicago political family, served as chief of staff to Barack Obama and commerce secretary under Bill Clinton. He also spent years as an executive at JPMorgan Chase, adding to the list of that bank’s alums who now populate the highest ranks at Wells Fargo. Daley joined BNY Mellon after losing a bid for mayor of Chicago earlier in 2019.
“It’s an acknowledgment that this is really important,” Daley said. “There’s no doubt Charlie’s bringing a sense of urgency and speed.”
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