It's finally over.
After one of the most incredibly precipitous and excruciating falls from grace in the history of American finance, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf has reportedly stepped down from his post effective immediately:
Wells Fargo & Co. Chairman and Chief Executive John Stumpf is stepping down from both roles, effectively immediately, as the bank’s sales tactics scandal continues to roil the firm, a person familiar with the matter said.
Watching Stumpf metaphorically hang on to his gig with a literally mangled right hand has been by far the most fascinating financial narrative of the past few weeks (also manna from heaven for a certain snarky blog). And while the decision to "retire" came rather quickly in one sense, it must have felt like an eternity for Stumpfy. His departure will do almost nothing to throw the scent off of Wells Fargo in the short term, but it is almost a relief to see him dragged out of the forest with some life remaining after being absolutely savaged by popular opinion the Senate... and yelled at by their idiot cousins in the House of Representatives.
Perhaps what we'll miss most about Stumpf is that even in the face of such an overwhelming tidal wave of furious rage, he defended the practice of cross-selling - the very practice that got him into this mess - at every opportunity, and even went out of his way to do it on more than one occasion. It was like watching Mel Gibson defend the efficacy of liquor and voicemail in a Congressional hearing.
As we mused earlier today (look how smart we are!), Stumpf will be replaced by COO Tim Sloan, a guy more closely tied to the fraudulent account scandal than Stumpf and someone that is about to feel the eerie sensation of having his head mentally measured for mounting behind Elizabeth Warren's desk.
So, let's pour one out for old John Stumpf, everybody. He will now spend more time cross-selling his family on some pretty nifty financial products they might not have heard about.
Good night, Sweet Stumpf.