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Mar 19, 2020

Wells Fargo finds next top attorney

Ellen Patterson previously spent more than seven years at TD Bank Group

Wells Fargo & Company has hired Ellen Patterson to join the San Francisco-based bank as its senior executive vice president and general counsel, effective March 23. She will report to CEO Charlie Scharf and sit on the lender’s operating committee.

Patterson is joining Wells Fargo having spent more than seven years at TD Bank Group, where she was most recently group head and general counsel responsible for leading the bank’s global legal, compliance, anti-money-laundering, corporate secretary, global security & investigations and fraud-risk management teams.

She was previously general counsel for TD Bank’s US banking operations. For the past two years, she has also chaired TD Bank’s global Women in Leadership program, which backs programs and practices to advance the careers of female employees. Before her time at TD Bank, she was a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where her practice centered on advising financial institutions on corporate governance, M&A and capital markets matters.

‘Ellen is a seasoned lawyer with extensive experience in the financial services industry, where she has had responsibilities for managing and advising on global legal and regulatory compliance risks,’ Scharf says in a statement. ‘She will play a critical leadership role on our operating committee as we continue to work on our company’s top priority of meeting regulatory expectations.’

‘I am excited to join Wells Fargo during a transformational time in the company’s history,’ Patterson says in the bank’s announcement. ‘I look forward to collaborating with leaders across the company to shape the culture, help businesses innovate, and produce the best outcomes for the customers and communities Wells Fargo serves.’

The bank stated last November that Patterson’s full-time predecessor as general counsel, Allen Parker, had decided to leave the company to ‘pursue other business opportunities’. Parker joined Wells Fargo as general counsel in March 2017 and served as interim CEO and president from March 2019 to October 2019 before returning to his general counsel role.

‘I want to thank Allen for his dedication to Wells Fargo and his many contributions as general counsel and interim CEO,’ Scharf said in a statement at the time. ‘He has demonstrated exemplary leadership, both in moving the company forward during an important period in our history and in his active engagement with team members and all stakeholders. We wish him all the best as he embarks on the next chapter in his distinguished career.’

Parker said at the time: ‘I want to offer my sincere thanks to all my colleagues, especially our 261,000 team members, for their support and encouragement during my time at Wells Fargo. I have had a wonderful experience at this remarkable company, first as general counsel and then as interim CEO, and I will work diligently in the months ahead to assist in an effective transition to a new general counsel. I am confident that Wells Fargo today is in good stead and getting better every day.’

Ben Maiden

Ben Maiden is the editor-at-large of Governance Intelligence, an IR Media publication, having joined the company in December 2016. He is based in New York. Ben was previously managing editor of Compliance Reporter, covering regulatory and compliance...