Wells Fargo chair Betsy Duke has resigned abruptly, several days after Representative Maxine Waters called for her removal.
Wells Fargo announced that its chair Betsy Duke resigned, days after Representative Maxine Waters’ call for her ouster. This will be the latest among the executive changes at the bank since the fake accounts scandal broke out in September 2016.
Duke has been chair of Wells Fargo’s board since January 2018 and attempted to lead the company beyond its legal disputes. Prior to this, she served as the bank’s vice chair from October 2016 through the end of 2017.
Along with Duke’s departure, the company also announced the resignation of James Quigley, a member of the bank’s audit and risk committees and a director since 2013.
Waters called for Duke and Quigley’s resignation after the Waters-led House Financial Services Committee released a report last week, which highlighted “problematic” communications of Wells Fargo executives.
These included notes from a November 2017 meeting where Duke questioned why regulators included her on letters requesting the bank take certain actions. Duke asked: “Why are you sending it to me, the board, rather than the department manager?”
In a joint statement, Duke and Quigley said: “Out of continued loyalty to Wells Fargo and ongoing commitment to serve our customers and employees, we recommended to our colleagues on the board that we step down from our leadership roles.”
“We believe that our decision will facilitate the bank’s and the new CEO’s ability to turn the page and avoid distraction that could impede the bank’s future progress,” they added.
Jaret Seiberg, analyst at Cowen Washington Research Group, explained: “This is a politically smart move that could accelerate the bank’s escape from its regulatory troubles.”
“It is hard to see how Duke could survive given the House Financial Services Committee’s focus on her role in the troubled post-controversy response,” Seiberg continued.