Wells Fargo capped a tumultuous week Friday when it announced the appointment of Ellen Patterson as its new senior executive vice president and general counsel.
Patterson, whose appointment is effective March 23, will report directly to new CEO Charlie Scharf and be responsible for all legal affairs at Wells Fargo in addition to serving on the company’s Operating Committee.
“Ellen is a seasoned lawyer with extensive experience in the financial services industry, where she has had responsibilities for managing and advising on global legal and regulatory compliance risks,” Scharf said in a news release. “She will play a critical leadership role on our Operating Committee as we continue to work on our company’s top priority of meeting regulatory expectations.”
Patterson’s appointment comes three days after Scharf testified before the House Financial Services Committee following the release of a scathing report criticizing the culture at the scandal-plagued megabank in the wake of its infamous fake accounts scandal. “Simply said, we had a flawed business model in how the company was managed. Our structure was problematic, and the company’s leadership failed its stakeholders,” said Scharf, who assumed his position in October 2019.
The next day, former board members Elizabeth “Betsy” Duke and James Quigley, who had resigned from their posts Sunday after being individually named on numerous occasions throughout the damning report, testified before the House and largely failed to accept responsibility for their roles in the bank’s woes.
“I know what I’ve done as a board member of Wells Fargo, and I’m comfortable with that work and the way that I performed my role,” said Quigley. “I did my very best.”
Patterson is set to assume her role from Douglas R. Edwards, who has been serving as acting general counsel. C. Allen Parker, who joined Wells Fargo as general counsel in March 2017, spent a brief time as the bank’s interim CEO from March 2019 to October 2019, and returned to the general counsel role after that period, announced in November he would be leaving the company to pursue other business opportunities.
Patterson joins Wells Fargo after more than seven years at TD Bank Group, where she most recently served as group head and general counsel responsible for leading the bank’s global legal, compliance, anti-money laundering, corporate secretary, global security & investigations, and fraud risk management teams. Earlier, she served as general counsel for TD Bank’s U.S. banking operations.
“I am excited to join Wells Fargo during a transformational time in the company’s history,” Patterson said. “I look forward to collaborating with leaders across the company to shape the culture, help businesses innovate, and produce the best outcomes for the customers and communities Wells Fargo serves.”
Wells Fargo last week announced Muneera Carr as its new chief accounting officer, succeeding Richard Levy upon his retirement later this month.
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