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Wells Fargo names new Chair of Board

[NEW YORK] Wells Fargo announced on Tuesday that it promoted Elizabeth Duke to chair its board of directors as it tries to correct course after a fake accounts scandal the continues to roil the banking giant.

Ms Duke, 65, a former member of the Federal Reserve Board, joined the Wells Fargo board in 2015 and became vice-chair in 2016. She will take over in January from current Chair Stephen Sanger.

The transition was part of a series of board changes that also included the departure of two other board members, Cynthia Mulligan and Susan Swenson and addition of Juan Pujadas, a retired principal of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The moves follow a cantankerous annual investor meeting in April at which executives faced tough criticism from shareholders in the wake of the scandal and the responsibility of the board and senior leadership.

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Mr Sanger was reelected to the board with just 56 per cent of the vote, and several other members barely retained their seats.

In announcing the changes Tuesday, Mr Sanger said they "reflect a thoughtful and deliberate process by the Board that was informed by the company's engagement with shareholders and other stakeholders, as well as the Board's annual self-evaluation."

The fake accounts scandal came to light in September 2016 when the bank reached a settlement with regulators to pay US$185 million after opening some two million deposit and credit card accounts without customers approval or knowledge.

Wells Fargo said earlier this month that it may uncover even more fake accounts after a fresh investigation by regulators into the bank's practice of charging fees to homeowners to maintain low interest rates on their mortgages.

AFP