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Wells Fargo Adds Lawyer to Lead New Office of Consumer Practices

Nov. 8, 2021, 10:31 AM

Wells Fargo & Co. has hired Sally Mulligan from Santander Bank NA to head its newly formed Office of Consumer Practices as the company continues to reshape its legal and compliance ranks.

Mulligan, most recently an executive vice president and general counsel of consumer and business banking at Santander, joined Wells Fargo last month. She reports to Michael Lipsitz, another former Santander lawyer hired by Wells Fargo last year to be its chief regulatory and policy affairs executive.

Lipsitz, who reports to Wells Fargo COO Scott Powell, was tapped in January to lead the financial services giant’s Office of Consumer Practices. The consumer-focused unit within the COO’s business line was borne out of a series of scandals that hurt Wells Fargo’s relations with regulators and sullied the bank’s name with customers.

Wells Fargo’s Office of Consumer Practices is one of several new business units created under the leadership of the company’s CEO, Charles Scharf, a former executive at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Wells Fargo said in a statement confirming Mulligan’s hire that the unit she now heads partners with company businesses on areas including product development, policies, procedures and training.

“These efforts are designed to keep the customer front and center and embed that perspective into our decision-making,” Wells Fargo spokeswoman Stephanie Grant told Bloomberg Law via email.

Mulligan, like some of Wells Fargo’s other executive and legal additions this year, spent a half-dozen years at JPMorgan. Her legal leadership roles there included heading the consumer banking product and sales legal team, Grant said. Mulligan left JPMorgan in 2016 to join Santander in Florham Park, N.J., as a deputy general counsel and head of retail banking legal.

Wells Fargo’s Grant cited Mulligan’s more than 20 years of experience in the banking industry as helping her develop a “deep expertise in consumer financial services and products, regulatory mediation, and consumer practices.”

Before embarking on an in-house career, Mulligan was an associate at Paul Hastings and counsel at Lowenstein Sandler. She’s one of dozens of lawyers recruited by Wells Fargo within the past year as the San Francisco-based bank seeks to change its perception with both regulators and consumers over its business practices.

Wells Fargo confirmed that Charles Gayle, a former enforcement attorney with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, was hired in June as head of policy and engagement for its Office of Consumer Practices. Gayle spent the past two years as an oversight counsel and chief of staff for the U.S. House of Representatives.

In July, Wells Fargo also added Vincent Serpico as an assistant general counsel for its enterprise functions division. Serpico, who manages Wells Fargo’s enterprise privacy, information security, and data law section, was hired from Bank of America Corp., where he was a managing director and chief privacy counsel.

Wells Fargo’s general counsel is Ellen Patterson, a former corporate partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett who joined the bank last year after serving as legal chief for Toronto-Dominion Bank.

Patterson took over a law department previously led by C. Allen Parker Jr., a former presiding partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore who was hired by Wells Fargo in 2017. Parker subsequently became Wells Fargo’s interim CEO, a position he said two years ago this month he would step down from after Scharf was hired to lead the bank.

Parker, who left Wells Fargo in early 2020 after receiving more than $9.6 million in total compensation for his efforts the year prior, didn’t respond to a request for comment about his current endeavors.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com;
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com