Tags: Wells | Fargo | Board | Re-Election

Wells Fargo Board Scrapes Through Re-Election at Raucous Meeting

Wells Fargo Board Scrapes Through Re-Election at Raucous Meeting
(Getty/JoeRaedle)

Tuesday, 25 April 2017 01:38 PM

Wells Fargo & Co.’s 15 board members narrowly survived a shareholder vote in the wake of the bank’s account scandal, some by margins that may yet hasten departures.

At a contentious annual meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, investors granted directors support ranging from 53 percent to 99 percent, the company said. The results came after tense exchanges, with security officers escorting one man out who shouted questions for several minutes, demanding to know what the board “knew and when you knew it.” Other speakers chided the panel’s oversight after employees got caught opening legions of accounts without customer permission.

“Wells Fargo stockholders today, I think, have sent a clear message of dissatisfaction,” Chairman Stephen Sanger told the audience afterward. “The board has recognized that message.”

Proxy advisers and California Treasurer John Chiang had urged shareholders to reject as many as 12 of the firm’s 15 directors, a move that Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan has said would be “crazy.” The bank’s leaders met and called investors in recent days, asking them not to shake up the board as it responds to findings that, for years, employees sought to meet aggressive sales targets by opening bogus accounts. Critics argue the misconduct went unchecked as the board failed to bolster internal controls.

Meeting Interruptions

Shares of the bank gained 1.7 percent to $54.56 at 1 p.m. in New York. The stock has climbed almost 10 percent since regulators fined the company $185 million in September, setting off the scandal. That performance trails the 29 percent advance in the KBW Bank Index of 24 major U.S. lenders.

“It’s been a busy seven months, but we are focused on making things right, making real progress, and I’m fully confident we’re on the right path,” Sloan said Tuesday.

The gathering was initially halted for several minutes after Bruce Marks, a consumer advocate who founded a group to help low- and moderate-income home buyers, began shouting without a microphone, asking that directors individually explain what they knew about improper sales. The meeting went into recess and security officers escorted him out. After the agenda resumed, more people interjected, causing additional delays.

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Wells Fargo & Co.'s 15 board members narrowly survived a shareholder vote in the wake of the bank's account scandal, some by margins that may yet hasten departures.At a contentious annual meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, investors granted directors support ranging...
Wells, Fargo, Board, Re-Election
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2017-38-25
Tuesday, 25 April 2017 01:38 PM
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