Jeffrey Kupfer and Stephen Scott
Seated at the witness table of the Senate Banking Committee, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf found himself in a place no bank CEO ever wants to be. The leader of one of the nation/s largest banks was grilled for more than two hours by Senators united in rare bipartisan unity by outrage over revelations that Wells Fargo employees improperly opened accounts without their customers’ knowledge. Today, other CEOs are likely asking themselves how to avoid the same fate.
As Stumpf would no doubt agree, corporate culture is a bottom-line issue. When culture breaks down within an organization, the consequences can be dire. It is estimated that Wells Fargo has seen some $20 billion in its market value vanish since the scandal that brought Stumpf to Capitol Hill was publicized widely in the press. But fines and lost shareholder value are only the beginning. The bank’s broken trust with customers will take years to repair.