Wells Fargo CFO Atkins May Receive $22 Million After Resigning

Wells Fargo & Co. former Chief Financial Officer Howard Atkins may be eligible to receive more than $22 million in compensation and benefits upon his official retirement in August.

Atkins will be paid about $9.25 million in deferred compensation and pension benefits, according to a company proxy filing and an analysis conducted by Equilar Inc., a Redwood City, California-based executive-pay researcher. He may get another $13.2 million in restricted stock and options that will vest over the next few years, Oscar Suris, a Wells Fargo spokesman, said yesterday in a telephone interview.

Atkins, CFO at Wells Fargo since 2001, resigned this week, and will take an unpaid leave of absence until his retirement is effective Aug. 6. His departure “is unrelated to the company’s financial condition or financial reporting,” according to a statement from the San Francisco-based bank. Suris declined to discuss reasons for Atkins’s departure and said the former CFO was unavailable for comment.

Atkins will receive about $7.4 million in deferred compensation, almost $900,000 in a supplemental retirement plan and pension benefits worth almost $940,000, said Aaron Boyd, head of research at Equilar, citing the proxy statement.

“Whether you’re retiring or not, when you leave a company those are the things you take with you,” Suris said.

The other $13.2 million will come in the form of stock and options that will vest at a later date, and which he’s eligible to receive upon retirement, according to Suris. Atkins, who’s turning 60 later this week, will have worked at Wells Fargo for 10 years in August.

Value of Options

Of the options, about 461,133 currently have a strike price that is below the share price for a total value of about $1.25 million if they were to be exercised, Boyd said.

Wells Fargo declined 97 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $33.13 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. It has gained about 7 percent this year.

The equity-based pay “is based on a grant date so it’s not market value right now but it might be at some point down the road whenever they vest,” Suris said. “That’s an important point. They could be worth more or they could be worth less.”

Some information about the compensation was reported earlier by CNBC.

Atkins was replaced by Chief Administrative Officer Timothy J. Sloan, 50, who previously was head of commercial banking, real estate and specialized financial services. Sloan has been with Wells Fargo for 23 years, Chief Executive Officer John Stumpf said in a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dakin Campbell in San Francisco at dcampbell27@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Green at rgreen18@bloomberg.net.

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