(Bloomberg) -- Tom Nides, one of Wall Street and Washington’s most connected executives, is joining Wells Fargo & Co. as vice chairman as the firm continues to work its way past years of scandal.
The former US ambassador to Israel will start at Wells Fargo next month and report to Chief Executive Officer Charlie Scharf, according to a memo to employees Friday. He’ll advise Scharf and work with division heads “to expand relationships with our most important clients,” as well as oversee the firm’s public affairs division.
It’s a major hire for the CEO, who took over at Wells Fargo four years ago to turn it around after a series of missteps. The San Francisco-based bank still has multiple outstanding legal and regulatory problems, including a costly Federal Reserve-imposed asset cap limiting its size to what it was at the end of 2017.
“The breadth of Tom’s experience across the public and private sectors will be an important asset to us as we continue to move the company ahead,” Scharf wrote in the memo. “Tom has managed large institutions, interacted with countless government officials, developed critical relationships with key business leaders and community groups, and seen success at every level of our business.”
Nides, 62, has taken some of the industry’s most prominent trips from Washington to Wall Street and back.
He had been a chief of staff on Capitol Hill and a Fannie Mae executive before joining Morgan Stanley in 1996, leaving the Wall Street bank a year later to return to Fannie. He went back to the bank in 2005 as a top aide to then-CEO John Mack, left to become Hillary Clinton’s deputy secretary of state and again went back to Morgan Stanley before becoming the US ambassador to Israel.
A bank that still needs to convince Washington officials it has everything under control might be keen to tap its new executive’s Washington connections, and yet his Wall Street career also suits Scharf’s key growth initiatives. Morgan Stanley is a powerhouse in trading, investment banking and wealth management — all businesses that the Wells Fargo chief has earmarked as major opportunities.
Nides had considered returning to Wall Street’s big banks or jumping to one of the large asset managers or M&A boutiques, according to a person familiar with his thinking, but he chose Wells Fargo because he sees its potential to rebound.
Bill Daley, who Scharf brought in as vice chairman for public affairs as one of his first hires, is set to retire at year-end. Daley has also enjoyed connections to Washington and Wall Street. He was Bill Clinton’s commerce secretary, then an executive at JPMorgan Chase & Co., and then Barack Obama’s chief of staff before his stint at Wells Fargo.
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