October 24, 2018 / 9:13 PM / 21 days ago

Two Wells Fargo executives go on leave of absence amid sales scandal review

A Wells Fargo logo is seen in New York City, U.S. January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith

(Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co said on Wednesday it put two executives on leave in connection with ongoing regulatory reviews into the bank’s retail sales practices.

Chief Administration Officer Hope Hardison and Chief Auditor David Julian have begun leaves of absence and will no longer be members of the bank’s operating committee, the bank said.

The bank declined to comment on the reason for the moves, which it announced in a press release.

Hardison is a 24-year veteran of Wells Fargo and assumed the CAO role in 2015, according to the company website. Julian joined Wells through its merger with Wachovia Corp and has served as chief auditor since 2012, according to LinkedIn.

Wells Fargo has been coping with the fallout of a sales practice scandal since late 2016, when it was revealed that millions of fake accounts may have been opened in customers’ names by bankers facing lofty sales targets.

Since then the bank has been hit with penalties including a $1 billion fine and a cap on assets put in place by the Federal Reserve.

Earlier this week, the bank settled for $65 million with the New York attorney general’s office which alleged that the bank misled investors about its sales practices.

The fourth-largest U.S. lender is still facing inquiries into its customer sales abuses by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Labor, according to Wells Fargo’s most recent regulatory disclosure. The bank is also facing several class-action lawsuits from angry customers.

“We remain steadfast in our focus on making things right for customers and building a better Wells Fargo,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan said in a statement on Wednesday.

Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Cynthia Osterman

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