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Wells Fargo Names Three New Independent Directors

November 30, 2017, 08:01 AM
Related: Wells Fargo

The Board of Directors of Wells Fargo & Company announced it has elected three new independent directors as part of its succession planning and refreshment process. The three new directors, each of whom will join the board on Jan. 1, 2018, are:

  • Celeste A. Clark, former chief sustainability officer and global public policy and external relations officer of Kellogg Company, where she led Kellogg’s global Corporate Communications, Public Affairs, Sustainability and Philanthropy functions.
  • Theodore F. Craver, Jr., former chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Edison International, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities. Prior to joining Edison, Craver spent 23 years in banking and was corporate treasurer of First Interstate Bancorp, a Wells Fargo predecessor company.
  • Maria R. Morris, who most recently was interim head of the U.S. Business and head of the Global Employee Benefits business of MetLife, Inc., where she previously was head of Technology and Operations.

With this announcement, the board has named six new directors in 2017 and a total of eight new independent directors since 2015. On Jan. 1, 2018, the average tenure of the board’s directors will fall to slightly less than five years from 8.4 years at the company’s 2017 annual meeting of shareholders.

“The board’s composition has changed significantly as it remains focused on being responsive to shareholders, enhancing oversight and creating value for shareholders,” said Elizabeth A. “Betsy” Duke, vice chair, who becomes chair on Jan. 1, 2018.

“Through a thoughtful and deliberate process that was informed by the board’s annual self-evaluation conducted earlier this year and feedback from shareholders and other stakeholders, Wells Fargo’s board has enhanced its overall capabilities and expertise and at the same time maintained an appropriate mix of tenure, experience and diversity,” Duke said.

The board’s new directors include distinguished leaders with relevant experience in financial services, risk management, technology, consumer, retail, finance, accounting, human capital management, public policy and marketing as well as environmental, social and governance matters. Among the six new directors named in 2017, three are women and two are ethnically diverse.

“Celeste’s deep public policy, sustainability and regulatory affairs experience for a large consumer company will bring expertise and perspective to the board at a time when environmental, social and governance matters have become increasingly important for the company’s operations and key areas of interest for our many stakeholders,” said Donald M. James, chair of the board’s Governance and Nominating Committee. “Ted’s and Maria’s executive leadership experience with large dynamic organizations, including financial services companies, will bring additional industry, consumer, risk management, technology and regulatory experience to the board.”

Clark will serve as a member of the Corporate Responsibility Committee. Craver will join the Audit and Examination Committee. Morris will serve as a member of the Risk Committee.

“Celeste, Ted and Maria will be invaluable to management’s efforts to achieve industry leadership in customer service and advice, risk management, innovation, corporate citizenship and shareholder value,” said Tim Sloan, president and CEO. “I look forward to working with them and the other directors as we continue to make Wells Fargo a better and stronger company for all of our stakeholders.”

The election of Clark, Craver, and Morris as directors, which follows the board’s election in 2017 of Karen B. Peetz, Juan A. Pujadas, and Ronald L. Sargent, will fill the vacancies created by the previously announced retirements of Cynthia H. Milligan, Stephen W. Sanger, and Susan G. Swenson at year-end 2017. As a result of those retirements and today’s announcement, the board will have 16 members on Jan. 1, 2018.

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