Updates stock price.
SAN FRANCISCO (TheStreet) - In a surprise announcement after the market's close on Tuesday, Wells Fargo (WFC) said its CFO Howard Atkins - who had often been the face of the company at investor conferences and in media outlets - was leaving the firm immediately, to be replaced by Chief Administrative Officer Tim Sloan.
The news appeared to startle investors, with shares of the San Francisco-based lending giant selling off sharply in after-hours trading. Its stock was recently down 3.2% at $33.
Wells Fargo said Atkins decided to retire for "personal reasons" that were "unrelated to the company's financial condition or financial reporting." A spokesman declined to provide a specific reason for Atkins departure or where he might be headed, but reiterated that it was unrelated to the bank's financial statements.Atkins, who turns 60 this week, has been with the company for nearly a decade, following a long career with executive positions at New York Life Insurance Co., Midlantic Corp. and Chase Manhattan Bank before the latter two firms merged into other entities. He did not provide a statement about his departure, which is effective in August following an unpaid leave of absence that begins immediately. His animated voice and effusive praise of the company's culture and reputation had become an integral part of the Wells Fargo brand during investor conferences and appearances on financial news networks. It also came in stark contrast to Chairman and CEO John Stumpf, who is more reserved, but has been stepping out into the spotlight in recent months. "We understand Howard's decision to retire after having served Wells Fargo successfully for nearly 10 years and after having had a financial services career that has spanned four decades," Stumpf said in a statement. "His tenure included Wells Fargo's rise from a super-regional industry leader to the global company that it is today following its 2008 acquisition of Wachovia. He leaves behind a Wells Fargo that remains financially strong and wholly committed to its strategy of helping all its customers succeed financially." Noticeably, the vociferous former CFO did not provide his own statement in the release. His sudden departure is rare at a bank that prides itself on gradual change. For instance, Stumpf's predecessor, Richard Kovacevich, announced his retirement in 2008 but stayed on board through early 2010 in order to ensure a smooth succession plan and help steer the company through the end of the financial crisis. Similarly, the bank is taking its time to carefully integrate Wachovia over a period of several years.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV