By JASON M. DEAL By James DeSantisNovember 11, 2018The first woman to hold the title of Chief Financial Officer of the United States is about to take over the reins of the nation’s largest financial services company.
Carolyn M. Seidenberg will succeed Tim Geithner as chief executive officer of Wells Fargo, which has been in financial crisis since 2009 and is on track to report its fourth straight year of revenue losses.
The former banker, who took over the job in March, will inherit a $2 trillion bank that has been at the center of an ongoing crisis that has devastated millions of Americans and contributed to a $19 trillion loss of U.S. jobs.
Her appointment is likely to be viewed as a significant step toward reversing the bank’s fortunes.
While Wells Fargo is still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis, it has emerged as a global leader in the field of financial services.
It has more than 40,000 employees and a profit margin of 18.5% over peers.
In recent months, it said it had taken a $1.5 billion charge to restructure its loans and that it would close about 1,400 of its more than $400 billion of revolving credit lines, among other moves to trim debt and cut costs.
Wells Fargo said it would use its leverage to improve the bank and reduce its debt, while also raising dividends and cutting its expenses.
But in a statement, the bank said it believed that Seidenberger, who joined the bank in 2007, could do a better job in the role and would focus on what she believes are its core businesses.
“She is a leader in her field and I believe she will bring to the role the same energy and commitment that she demonstrated as a banker,” Geithson said.
Sidenberg, who will turn 67 on Thursday, had been with the bank since 2001, when she took over as chief operating officer after the retirement of John Stumpf, who was CEO from 2003 to 2006.
She helped to rebuild the bank after the financial crisis.
She joined the firm in 2004 as a director and rose through the ranks, eventually becoming chief financial officer in 2013.
She joined Wells Fargo in 2017 after being named chief operating executive of a global bank, which included HSBC, Bank of America, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley.
Sides have been increasingly bitter over the bank, with the hedge fund managers at Blackstone and the investment firm BlackRock pushing for a return to public ownership, and the former head of the investment bank at Wells Fargo saying he is not pleased with Seidenborg’s selection.
Geithner is widely expected to retire next month after six years as the bank chairman and CEO.
The former Treasury secretary has also long been a strong advocate for more government intervention in the financial system.
He is considered a key figure in the bank.
Sensenberg, a former president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, will succeed Stumpff, who has been chief executive since 2011 and led the bank for more than four decades.