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Wells Fargo Reached Out to Gary Cohn About CEO Role: Report

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Wells Fargo directors spoke with Gary Cohn about becoming the troubled bank’s CEO, but the former president of Goldman Sachs declined the offer earlier this year, according to the New York Post.

Cohn, who gave up his post as President Donald Trump’s top economic advisor in March, was considered an option to take over from then-CEO Tim Sloan, several sources told the paper.

“They approached him,” the source said. “He turned them down.”

The paper asked Cohn earlier this week if he was still speaking with Wells Fargo about a role at the bank, and he replied, “Absolutely not.”

Sloan took the reigns almost two years ago after ex-CEO John Stumpf left the bank as the fake-accounts scandal dominated headlines.

For a Timeline of Wells Fargo’s Troubles, click here

What’s next for Wells Fargo’s CEO slot? “I don’t know if they have an active search, I know that they’re looking,” a Wall Street CEO told the Post.

“Their board isn’t 100% happy, because he didn’t stop the bleeding,” another bank executive said of Sloan. “He still has their support, but they’re not in love with him.”

The bank disputes the report. “The assertions in this story are inaccurate; Tim Sloan has the full support of the Wells Fargo board of directors,” Arati Randolph, a bank spokeswoman, told the Post.

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the bank is facing a Justice Department investigation into whether employees in its wholesale-banking unit improperly altered customer data.

(Related: When Will Wells Fargo’s Woes End?)

As of June 30, Wells Fargo Advisors included 14,226 advisors. That’s down about 300 from a year ago and 173 from the prior quarter, though the firm says retirement is behind 80% of departures over the past 12 months.

Also in the second quarter of 2018, the bank accrued a $114 million expense to refund wealth-unit customers who had been overcharged over the last seven years, along with $171 million for foreign-exchange clients.


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