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Wells Fargo’s Top Lawyer Delays Retirement After Retail Scandal

Dec. 1, 2016, 3:54 PM

By Laura J. Keller, Bloomberg News

Wells Fargo & Co., contending with lawsuits and federal probes into a retail banking scandal, persuaded James Strother to postpone his retirement as general counsel, which had been set for the end of the year.

“In light of recent events the decision has been made to have Jim Strother remain with the company and continue to serve as our general counsel,” said Peter Gilchrist, a bank spokesman.

Strother, 65, “has agreed to do so.”

The San Francisco-based bank faced a torrent of public and political criticism after agreeing to pay $185 million in September to settle claims that employees may have opened more than 2 million unauthorized accounts. John Stumpf resigned as chairman and chief executive officer, leaving Chief Operating Officer Tim Sloan to lead the company as its new CEO.

The lender, which fired 5,300 employees for alleged sales- practice abuses over five years, still faces related investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Labor and Securities and Exchange Commission. It’s also fielding lawsuits on behalf of customers and former staff.

Wells Fargo executive officers and operating committee members are expected under company policy to retire by age 65, Gilchrist said. That’s being waived in Strother’s case. Reuters reported the move earlier Wednesday.

Strother became the lender’s general counsel in late 2003.

He had been its deputy general counsel before that and had earlier served in legal roles with the bank’s predecessor firm.

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