Wanted at Wells Fargo: Three New Deputies to Run Retail Bank

  • Division head Mack creates posts focusing on strategy, clients
  • She’s also shaking up regional leaders as some managers leave

Wells Fargo & Co. community banking head Mary Mack is seeking three new deputies and shaking up regional leadership of the division she inherited after a bogus-account scandal.

Mack announced the moves in an internal memo Tuesday, saying she’s looking for candidates within the bank and externally for a trio of senior posts focusing on strategy, customer experience and clients including small businesses and the affluent.

She’s also restructuring management of the bank’s branches across the U.S., dividing its network into two divisions reporting to Lisa Stevens and Michelle Lee, according to a copy of the memo obtained by Bloomberg. John Sotoodeh, who previously oversaw one of three main regions, was demoted to a post covering four states, reporting to Stevens, the memo shows. He didn’t respond to a message seeking comment.

“I’m committed to putting people in place who come to work every day thinking about how to best serve customers,” Mack wrote in the memo.

Wells Fargo is overhauling how it runs its branch network after regulators announced in September that, for years, employees sought to meet aggressive sales targets by opening unauthorized accounts for customers. The scandal triggered a torrent of public criticism and congressional hearings, prompting the bank to shake up leadership, deny bonuses to eight top executives and, last month, fire at least four people who had served as senior managers in the consumer business.

More Departures

Sotoodeh had overseen the Southwest including Texas. The shakeup leaves him in charge of Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah -- a smaller area newly designated “Desert Mountain,” according to the memo. Breaking the broader network into two regions will “help us be even more streamlined, efficient and consistent across our branches,” Mack wrote.

Three other regional executives also just left. They include Reza Razzaghipour and Marla Clemow, spouses who oversaw groups of branches near and in Los Angeles, and who were described by Bloomberg in a November story profiling supervisors, also including Sotoodeh, who won promotions as higher-ups focused on boosting sales. The pair and another manager, Misha Patel Terrazas, are no longer at the bank, according to company spokeswoman Mary Eshet.

“We are focused on ensuring we have the right people and leaders in place to rebuild trust and build a better bank,” Eshet said in an emailed statement. She declined to comment further, and the trio didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Razzaghipour had managed Wells Fargo retail operations stretching from Ventura and Santa Barbara inland to Tulare County, while Clemow presided over metropolitan Los Angeles. Both came up under Sotoodeh. Terrazas was an area president in Arizona under Pamela Conboy, one of four executives Wells Fargo said it dismissed in February.

Mack, who took over the community bank last year, is scheduled to speak to investors Wednesday at an event hosted by RBC Capital Markets.

“We have taken many steps to rebuild trust with customers and team members, but we have more work to do,” she wrote on Tuesday. The firm is committed “to building upon these changes.”

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