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Mar 15, 2017

New Wells Fargo CEO receives pay raise post sales scandal

Wells Fargo logo in New York City

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Wells Fargo & Co's (WFC.N) board of directors awarded Chief Executive Timothy Sloan US$12.8 million for his work last year, a 17 per cent increase, despite scrapping executive bonuses in light of an accounts scandal that rocked the bank last year, according to a proxy filing on Wednesday.

Sloan was CEO for only a few months in 2016. He took over after his predecessor, John Stumpf, resigned in light of revelations that thousands of Wells Fargo employees had opened perhaps millions of unauthorized customer accounts.

Sloan, 56, had been president and chief operating officer until October. Though his promotion came with a higher base salary and more long-term stock awards, his total package was less than the US$19.3 million Stumpf received for 2015.

Finance chief John Shrewsberry and David Carroll, who heads wealth and investment management, also received bigger pay packages for 2016 despite the absence of bonuses.

Wells Fargo reached a US$185 million settlement with regulators in September over creating what it then said could be as many as 2.1 million accounts in customers' names without their permission. The third-largest U.S. bank has since encountered more government probes and lawsuits, and its board recently said an internal review may uncover more problematic accounts.

The board plans to release its findings ahead of Wells's annual meeting on April 26, where shareholders will vote on matters in the proxy, including the election of directors, executive pay and shareholder proposals.

This year's proxy includes a proposal submitted by a group of mostly religious-affiliated activist investors who want the board to produce a report into the root causes of the sales scandal. Employees have said they were pressured by supervisors to hit aggressive sales targets that were ultimately put in place by top management.

Shareholders also submitted proposals urging the bank to consider divesting businesses, prepare a report on the gap between what it pays men and women and adopt a policy on the rights of indigenous people in light of its involvement in financing the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.

Wells Fargo's board urged shareholders to reject proposals submitted by their peers.