Wells Fargo Chairwoman Elizabeth Duke Resigns Ahead of Congressional Hearing

Anne Chou
Wells Fargo

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Wells Fargo chairwoman, Elizabeth Duke, resigned from the board ahead of her scheduled testimony at a congressional hearing this week over the bank’s response to a series of consumer scandals. Charles Noski, who joined the board in June 2019, will step in as chairman of the board. He is a retired vice chairman and former chief financial officer of Bank of America Corp. James Quigley, a director since 2013, also resigned from Wells Fargo’s board, according to the bank.

The resignations were announced days before Duke and Quigley were set to testify before the House Financial Services Committee. The committee issued a scathing report last week on the bank’s efforts to fix its problems, and was highly critical of both Duke and Quigley. After the release of the report, Representative Maxine Roberts, the California Democrat who chairs the committee, called for both of them to step down.

Duke joined Wells Fargo’s board in 2015, and became chairwoman in January 2018, making her the first woman to lead the board at one of the largest banks in the nation. She was also previously a Federal Reserve governor during the 2008 financial crisis, and the first woman to chair the American Bankers Association.

“Out of continued loyalty to Wells Fargo and ongoing commitment to serve our customers and employees, we recommended to our colleagues on the Board that we step down from our leadership roles and they have accepted our resignation from the Board.” Duke and Quigley said in a statement. “We believe that our decision will facilitate the bank’s and the new CEO’s ability to turn the page and avoid distraction that could impede the bank’s future progress.”

Charles Scharf, Wells Fargo’s third CEO since the bank’s fake account scandal became public in 2016, is scheduled to testify before the same House committee on Tuesday.

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