06 March 2020

Wells Fargo promotes senior in-house lawyer to interim GC role for second time

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Wells Fargo: interim GC Doug Edwards has stepped into Allen Parker's shoes

Doug Edwards steps up to replace outgoing GC and former interim CEO Allen Parker

Longstanding Wells Fargo lawyer Doug Edwards has stepped up to become interim general counsel as the bank seeks a long-term replacement for outgoing GC and former interim chief executive Allen Parker.

This is the second time Edwards has assumed the interim GC role at the scandal-hit bank which is seeking to draw a line under a torrid period sparked by fraudulent sales practices that included opening millions of fake customer accounts.

Last month it agreed to pay $3bn to settle criminal and civil investigations in a deal which included a three-year deferred prosecution agreement.

Parker, the former presiding partner at Cravath Swaine & Moore, was appointed general counsel of the US's fourth-largest bank in March 2017 as it sought to convince regulators it was determined to change its culture.

The previous month a report by Shearman & Sterling had criticised the legal team for failing to appreciate that 'sales integrity issues reflected a systemic breakdown in Wells Fargo’s culture and values'.

He then took over as interim CEO in March 2019 when CEO Tim Sloan resigned abruptly.

Having been tipped to become permanent CEO, Parker resumed his GC role in October last year on the appointment of Charles Scharf in the top role. 

The bank subsequently announced on 14 November that Parker would be stepping down this month 'to pursue other business opportunities'.

This will be Edwards' second stint as interim GC at the San Francisco-based bank, having covered for Parker while he was in the top job.

Edwards has been a senior member of the bank's in-house legal team for more than ten years, most recently as executive vice president and deputy general counsel of the global commercial and securities division.

Meanwhile, Parker leaves the bank having been singled out for praise by Scharf.

“He has demonstrated exemplary leadership, both in moving the company forward during an important period in our history and in his active engagement with team members and all stakeholders," Wells Fargo's CEO said on 14 November when Parker's departure was announced.

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