Wells Fargo Shakes Up Washington Lobbying After Accounts ScandalBy
Expanded government relations office will add policy functions
Executive Vice President David Moskowitz named to lead group
Wells Fargo & Co. is making big changes in how it deals with lawmakers and regulators in Washington after top executives were savaged during congressional inquiries into the bank’s fraudulent-accounts scandal.
David Moskowitz, an executive vice president, will run an expanded government-relations and public-policy group, the San Francisco-based bank said in a statement Thursday. Wells Fargo will add staff in Washington and move more public-policy functions into the new office, the company said.
Jon Campbell, who previously headed government relations, will continue to lead some of Wells Fargo’s philanthropic efforts, the bank said. Anita Eoloff, a longtime Washington lobbyist for the lender, is retiring. The government-relations role will be two rungs below Chief Executive Officer Timothy Sloan instead of the previous three.
“Wells Fargo looks forward to continuing to work with lawmakers and helping demonstrate to them how we are building a better bank,” said Hope Hardison, who heads the bank’s chief administrative office. Moskowitz will report to that office.
When then-Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf tried last year to explain how company employees came to create as many as 2 million accounts without customer approvals, it led to heated exchanges with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate. Stumpf stepped down shortly after the hearings and has had millions of dollars in pay clawed back.
The changes come as the bank continues to take hits over the scandal and awaits the outcome of multiple government investigations. Shareholders’ displeasure with the furor and Wells Fargo’s response came to a head this week, when investors narrowly voted to back 15 board members after tense exchanges at the bank’s annual meeting in Florida.