With all eyes on Wells Fargo amid its search for a new CEO, the leader of the bank’s top shareholder is voicing his two cents.
Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, recently told the Financial Times that Wells Fargo needed to look in new places for a fresh chief executive, following Tim Sloan’s departure on March 28. (The bank’s general counsel, Allen Parker, replaced him on an interim basis.)
“They just have to come from someplace [outside Wells] and they shouldn’t come from Wall Street,” Buffett said in the FT. “They probably shouldn’t come from JPMorgan or Goldman Sachs.”
Buffett’s comments are attracting lots of press as the bank says it is selling its retirement-plan business to Principal Financial Group for $1.2 billion. The move appears to be part of Wells Fargo’s plan to restructure operations following its fake-accounts scandal, which led the Federal Reserve to impose an asset growth cap on the troubled bank.
Who Will It Be?
While there have been rumors that several ex-Goldman Sachs leaders — such as Gary Cohn and Harvey Schwartz — are under consideration, the latest list of CEO candidates from Bloomberg includes JPMorgan Co-President Gordon Smith; JPMorgan Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake; Dean Athanasia, head of Bank of America’s consumer and small-business unit; Jane Fraser, head of Citigroup’s Latin America business; and Matt Zames, president of Cerberus Capital.
In Buffett’s mind, though, these are not the right folks for the job given the hot seat that Wells Fargo is in.