John Stumpf has made himself perfectly clear: There’s simply no way you can lay blame for Wells’ whole opening-unauthorized-accounts-to-meet-sales-goals scandal at his doorstep. “There was no incentive to do bad things,” he insists, which is why Wells is taking its sweet time doing away with those incentives. Nope, this was all the doing of 5,300 bad apples way down on the Wells food chain, so far down that there’s no way John Stumpf could have even had a whiff of it. What could he have done? After all, he’s only the chairman and CEO.
This explanation isn’t going over well in some circles, and probably won’t in front of Congress, either. On the bright side, there’s at least one Wells shareholder that doesn’t think Stumpf needs to resign yesterday (which is good, because he says he's not). In fact, the Needmor Fund doesn’t even think that Stumpf needs to be spending a little less time chairing things and a little more time chief executing. No, the Ohio nonprofit is happy to settle for getting a separate chairman and CEO when Stumpf decides to hang it up. You know, whenever that might be. No pressure.
The Needmor Fund filed a proposal Thursday asking the bank to let investors vote at next year’s annual meeting on whether to separate the roles. Both are held by John Stumpf, though the proposal wouldn’t affect him: It calls for the board to separate the jobs for the next CEO, and then only “whenever possible.”
Another shareholder, however, thinks so more radical splitting is necessary.
Also Thursday, activist shareholder Bart Naylor filed a breakup proposal, asking Wells Fargo to study whether it should jettison all noncore banking businesses. His breakup proposals earlier this year at Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. garnered little support.