A Tale of Two CEOs: Stumpf & Priebus

Wells Fargo  CEO John Stumpf has finally been shown the door but not before he did immense harm to the company that paid him well to protect its good name. What should-be been uppermost in his mind, the public’s perception of the Company he was entrusted was put on the back burner in favor of near term goals  enhancing the bottom line and his and others bonuses. Two million unauthorized  accounts without the customer’s knowledge revealed a management culture that lost sight of the big picture. What good was an extra statistic if you lost your good name or as Mark 8:36 admonished “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Wells Fargo paid big bucks for they thought was a visionary leader and ended up with a shortsighted bookkeeper. The board that hired him made a disastrous mistake, but in their defense lack of vision is usually seen in retrospect. Until a challenge is unmet, one can’t judge performance. Mr Stumpf probably did mundane chores exceedingly well but  he failed to see how his policies could jeopardize  the company’s brand for a few pennies on the bottom line. Two million accounts and no one questioned it? Didn’t Stumpf feel the need for controls that would’ve alerted management to this mass  hanky-panky?  It appears there were no avenues for whistle blowers to get a hearing. Any decent Business School would point out setting the proper priorities is essential to being a good leader. Perhaps he missed this at  Curtis L. Carlson School of Management at the Univ. of Minnesota. Stumpf’s  successor Timothy J. Sloan will have his hands full rebuilding  public trust  in Wells Fargo. What was easily lost by ignoring the most  important thing you possess, your reputation, must be painstakingly rebuilt with no assurance of ultimate success. At least Stumpf is gone and the process can begin.

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