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Retiring Wells Fargo CFO to Get $27 Million

Wells Fargo's former CFO Howard Atkins stands to walk away from the company with deferred compensation, pension benefits and stock grants valued at $27.21 million as of Wednesday's close.

A Wells Fargo bank branch in downtown San Francisco.
Paul Sakuma
A Wells Fargo bank branch in downtown San Francisco.

An earlier report by CNBC put the number at closer to $10 million, but Wells Fargo confirmed that Atkins will keep restricted share rights (RSS) and retention performance shares (RSP). These will vest over time and their value may fluctuate depending on the company's performance.

Equilar, an executive compensation data firm, said SEC filings show Atkins was granted 200,292 RSPs in 2010, 189,800 RSPs in 2009, and 127,937 RSRs in 2009. Using Wednesday's closing price of $33.13 , Equilar estimates the value of these grants and some options held by Atkins at $17.96 million.

In addition Atkins keeps pension benefits worth $937,775, and deferred compensation worth $8,315,497 bringing the total to $27,213,272.

Late Tuesday, San Francisco-based Wells Fargo unexpectedly said Atkins was immediately taking an unpaid leave of absenceto deal with a "personal matter." He will retire in August. Atkins has been with the firm for ten years and Wells Fargo said his decision to retire has nothing to do with the company's financial condition or financial reporting. Atkins is being replaced by Timothy J. Sloan, the bank's chief administrative officer and a senior vice president.

In a note to clients, Rochdale Research analyst Dick Bove said the bank owes shareholders a greater explanation of this event, noting its highly unusual for a CFO to step down just ahead of the company filing its 10-K and ahead of the release of the results of the stress tests being conducted by the Federal Reserve.

"It is not normal for a CFO to leave a company for personal reasons when major disclosures about to be made," Bove wrote.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed Wells Fargo's former CFO Howard Atkins total compensation package at $25,475,497 when it should have been listed at $27,213,272. And the second paragraph is now corrected on what types of shares he will keep.