Charlie Scharf’s no-nonsense style could create a more stable Wells FargoFebruary 3, 2021
Charlie Scharf took over a tough job when he agreed to be CEO of scandal-ridden Wells Fargo. The company had “made a bunch of mistakes,” he says. And the penalty for those mistakes was a raft of regulatory restrictions that will hobble the bank for years to come. Scharf added his own to that list of mistakes last year, when he put out a memo on the bank’s diversity efforts saying “there is a limited pool of Black talent to recruit from with this specific experience.” Hard to argue you have high standards when your people have been pushing fake accounts on customers.
But as Fortune’s Rey Mashayekhi shows in this in-depth profile, Scharf has brought a no-nonsense style of management to the bank, honed during his years working with JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon. And he is moving steadily to enable a smaller, but more stable, bank to emerge from the crisis…eventually. The story is worth reading this morning, here. Best factoid: he’s taken up guitar playing as a respite from the bank’s woes.
Separately, NASDAQ CEO Adena Friedman spoke at the Economic Club of New York yesterday, and defended her new board diversity requirements for NASDAQ-listed companies. The rules have come under some attack—most notably from former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt, who called them “political at their core.”
Friedman explained that the rules, which call on companies to have two diverse members—one a woman and one a minority—are not a requirement. “If they are not able to achieve that, they should explain to their investors. It’s a ‘have or explain’ rule, not delisting.” And she said 73% of the comments NASDAQ has gotten on the rules are positive, while only 20% are negative. Seems like the world may be ready for this change, even if Mr. Levitt is not.
More news below, including the biggest of the day—Amazon’s Jeff Bezos will give up his CEO post to his cloud lieutenant, Andy Jassy. And here’s your fun statistic of the day: from its IPO to Tuesday’s close, Amazon’s stock has risen 255,233%.