Wells Fargo CEO's Loss Pales in Comparison to Fired Employees

September 30th 2016

Kyle Jaeger

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf is going to lose more than $43 million in unvested stock and salary compensation after an investigation revealed that employees created fake accounts and collected fees from consumers over several years.

But the executive's loss pales in comparison to the more than 5,000 employees involved in the scheme who lost their jobs.


Because Strumpf has "exercised an additional 500,000 shares since the end of 2015," his estimated payout amounts to more than $134 million, according to USA Today. That includes profits from his shares in the company, as well as his pension if he were to retire.

It's a lot more money than those who were fired as a result of a federal investigation can expect to receive.

Wells Fargo announced on Tuesday that Stumpf "will forfeit all of his outstanding unvested equity awards, valued at approximately $41 million based on today’s closing share price, and that he will forgo his salary during the pendency of the investigation." The announcement came after federal investigators found that thousands of Wells Fargo employees had opened more than 2 million deposit and credit card accounts for consumers without their knowledge.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., played a central role in the federal inquiry into the banking scheme. She wrote on Twitter on Thursday, "This is a small step in the right direction, but nowhere near real accountability."

At a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday, Stumpf continued to shift blame onto the 5,000-plus employees who created the fake accounts. But lawmakers assert that the problem is systemic, resulting from a company culture that encouraged employees to meet rigorous sales goals.

"The plight of Wells Fargo workers who lost their jobs for not meeting sales goals came up several times during the hearing, with lawmakers citing personal experiences from their constituents," The New York Times reported.

Strumpf, for his part, maintained that “people should not be fired, terminated for missing sales goals. ... I’m not saying it didn’t happen. We’re doing a review of whatever, whoever might have been terminated for that.”

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