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Cathy Bessant

It looks like the possible frontrunner in the search for Wells Fargo & Co.’s next CEO is the same as it was in April. Ah, to be a fly on the wall. In our last roundup on the CEO search, which has more background on the story, a Dealbreaker tipster named Catherine P. Bessant as the lead pick. She is chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America Corp., and is a member of the bank’s executive management team.

Today, Bloomberg reports that after twists and turns in the search, BofA’s Bessant is among executives who remain in talks with Wells Fargo, while JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Gordon Smith won’t be taking the job, according to people with knowledge of the situation. Though it should be noted No. 1 shareholder Warren Buffett has told the board he would like someone outside of Wall Street.

Bessant’s Background

According to her BofA profile, Bessant has led global technology and operations, delivering end-to-end technology and operating services across the company through nearly 95,000 employees and contractors in more than 35 countries. Her rich history with the company, beginning as a corporate banker in 1982, has included being president, global corporate banking; president, global product solutions and global treasury services; chief marketing officer; president, consumer real estate and community development banking; national small business segment executive; and president of the Florida market.

Outside of the bank, Bessant chairs the North Tryon Vision Plan Advisory Committee, and recently led the formation of the Council on the Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence, managed by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Baz Hiralal

Managing Editor, Thought Leadership