April 23, 2019
By Imani Moise
DALLAS (Reuters) – Wells Fargo & Co shareholders voted to elect all of the company-nominated directors during a rowdy meeting on Tuesday in which more than a dozen attendees were kicked out for heckling executives and board members.
The majority of the San Francisco-based bank’s 12 board members joined Wells Fargo after the bank became mired in scandal in late 2016 for opening potentially millions of unauthorized accounts. Board Chair Betsy Duke and interim Chief Executive Allen Parker faced questions about why investors should vote for the five directors who were at the bank at the time of the wrongdoing.
All the directors were elected with no less than 95% approval, according to the preliminary tally.
Last month, proxy research firm Institutional Shareholder Services advised “cautionary support” of directors who were at the bank prior to 2017.
About 15 activists were kicked out of the meeting for interrupting Parker’s remarks. He had repeatedly asked them to wait for the question-and-answer segment before having security evict them.
“One of the wonderful things about shareholder democracy is that we have meetings like this,” said Parker as the activists were escorted out.
The activists had spoken out about various issues, including fair lending practices, African American homeownership and fake accounts. Some called Wells Fargo executives “frauds” and said the bank could not be trusted.
Shareholders also approved executive pay and other management proposals. Two shareholder proposals that were rejected called for transparency about incentive pay and closing of the median gender pay gap.
(Reporting by Imani Moise; Editing by Richard Chang)