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L-R Bessant, Porat, Lake, Bair

There’s a list of potential Wells Fargo & Co. CEOs forming as outgoing chief executive Tim Sloan has succumbed to mounting issues at the bank. Several news outlets have speculated on candidates for the top spot and, as clients know, Leadership Connect is the service to use when trying to rub elbows.

So, who’s who?

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman, Sachs & Co. are good places to start given recent moves, and there are rumblings that a woman may be the preferred pick – it would be the first time a woman has led any of the largest U.S. banks as CEO. Bloomberg has shortlisted JPM’s potential Jamie Dimon successors Marianne Lake, who is chief financial officer; and JPM Co-President and Co-Chief Operating Officer Gordon A. Smith, who is also a Nordstrom Inc. board member. CNBC cited a March 11 note by Bank of America Corp. analyst Erika Najarian stating Smith’s came up in “nearly every conversation” with investors as a potential successor. Former JPMorgan COO and current Cerberus Capital Management President Matt Zames was also mentioned in reports.

Before the Sloan news, Wells Fargo denied holding talks with former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, who was also a top economic adviser to President Donald Trump; and with ex-Goldman President and Co-COO Harvey Schwartz.

Citigroup Inc.’s Latin America CEO Jane Fraser and BofA’s consumer and small-business head Dean Athanasia, were also mentioned by Bloomberg. CNBC said other potential names from the banking world include Richard Davis, former head of U.S. Bancorp and Bill Demchak, CEO of PNC. Among other names, American Banker highlighted former regulators John Dugan (current Citigroup board chair); Sheila Bair, former chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. who holds several board seats and is a Yahoo! columnist; and Julie Williams, who was a longtime chief counsel at the OCC. AB also suggested Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat, who was CFO of Morgan Stanley for five years.

The colorful Dealbreaker apparently has the inside track, citing a tipster who said “The list changes almost by the hour. Current front runner seems to be [Cathy] Bessant.” Bessant is chief operations and technology officer of Bank of America.

The Wells Fargo search committee, as AB reported, is led by James Quigley, and includes Maria Morris, Ronald Sargent and Wayne Hewett.

Baz Hiralal

Baz Hiralal

Managing Editor, Thought Leadership