Seeking a female CEO could play well in court of public opinion for Wells Fargo – S&P Global

Wells Fargo & Co. might soon be the largest U.S. bank to hire a female CEO.

The scandal-plagued bank has lost two CEOs since 2016. Under pressure from Congress and scrutiny from regulators, the San Francisco-based lender is seeking a new leader, one Wells Fargo has said will come from outside the organization. Several candidates rumored to be on the short list for the top spot are women — a move that would be a first at the biggest U.S. banks in an industry lacking diversity in senior leadership roles.

Analysts said longtime JPMorgan Chase & Co. CFO Marianne Lake and Citigroup Inc. Latin America CEO Jane Fraser are potential frontrunners in the search. However, Lake was recently named head of consumer lending at JPMorgan in what some called a defensive move to prevent her from taking the top job at Wells Fargo.

Other women who have been cited as possible contenders include Bank of America Corp. Chief Operations and Technology Officer Catherine Bessant, Bridgewater Associates LP co-CEO Eileen Murray, and Ruth Porat, the CFO of Alphabet Inc. and Google LLC.

Media outlets have recently published stories about final contenders for the role, always citing unnamed inside sources. Wells Fargo Chair Elizabeth “Betsy” Duke said in the bank’s April 23 shareholder meeting that “we do not plan to comment on such speculation or provide updates on our progress until we’ve made a final selection.” The bank declined to comment further on its search.


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