Wells Fargo board chair Elizabeth Duke steps down

Key Points
  • Wells Fargo said on Monday Elizabeth Duke had resigned as the chair of its board, effective March 8.
  • James Quigley had also stepped down as a member of the board, the bank said in a statement.
  • Charles Noski, former finance chief at Bank of America, will replace Duke, who was elected as chair in Jan. 2018, after serving as vice-chair for a little over a year.
Wells Fargo
Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Wells Fargo said on Monday two directors, including chairwoman Elizabeth Duke, have resigned, effective from March 8, days before they were set to appear before Congress as part of an investigation into bank's sales practices.

In a statement, the bank named James Quigley as the other board member who stepped down.

The two were set to testify at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Wednesday, where the committee chairwoman Maxine Waters said she would call for their resignation.

It was not immediately clear whether they would still have to appear and a representative for Waters was not immediately available for comment.

The committee has been investigating the bank and its relationship with regulators after a sales practices scandal that began in 2016, when it was revealed the bank opened millions of potentially unauthorised accounts.

The enquiry unearthed documents and emails that showed a complacent attitude on the part of some directors towards the company's regulatory issues, according to a report released last week.

Duke, a former Federal Reserve governor, joined Wells Fargo's board in 2015. She was elected vice chairwoman in 2016 just as tensions were erupting between the bank and the regulators. She became chairwoman in 2018.

Quigley, who joined the board in 2013, and Duke were among the few remaining directors who have been with Wells Fargo since before the scandal came to light.

Charles Noski, former finance chief at Bank of America, will replace Duke. He has served as vice-chairman for a little over a year.

The departures take place a month after Wells Fargo Chief Executive Officer Charles Scharf announced his first major reshuffle since taking over in October, naming several executives to new roles and a JPMorgan Chase veteran to head consumer lending.