CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER LES BILLER TO RETIRE FROM WELLS FARGO
SAN FRANCISCO — May 30, 2002
Chief Operating Officer and Vice Chairman Les Biller said today he will retire from Wells Fargo in October to pursue his career goal of becoming a chief executive officer.
"The past three years I've focused exclusively on the goal of making Wells Fargo a world class organization, achieving a smooth integration of the former Norwest and the former Wells Fargo, accelerating our revenue growth to double digits, improving customer service and growing our cross-sell to industry leading levels," said Biller. "Thanks to the commitment, caring and hard work of our 134,000 team members we've made remarkable progress together. We can all be very proud of our achievements to date. Dick Kovacevich and I have had many discussions, especially in the last year, about my desire to become a CEO. With the Norwest-Wells Fargo merger behind us and given that we've made significant improvements in sales, service, and revenue growth, now is an opportune time for me to pursue my next career goal. It's been a great honor to work with a leader and colleague of Dick's integrity, creativity and commitment to people."
"Les has outstanding leadership skills so it's natural that he wants to become a CEO," said Chairman and CEO Kovacevich. "He's been considering for some time now the possibility of pursuing opportunities outside of Wells Fargo.
This is quite understandable, given I'm 58 and our Company's normal retirement age is 65. Because of his loyalty to Wells Fargo, however, he agreed to stay until the merger and integration were successfully completed and that's now been done. His passion, energy and leadership skills were a driving force behind the very successful Norwest-Wells Fargo integration, the largest and most complex one in our industry's history. During his 15 years with the company, Les has made a major and lasting contribution to the remarkable growth and success of the former Norwest and to the new Wells Fargo. The progress we've made the past several years in sales and service would not have been possible without his relentless commitment to people as a competitive advantage and to his dedication to satisfying all the financial needs of our increasingly diverse customers. His legacy is the reputation we've earned as one of America's most admired companies. Les and I have known each other for almost 25 years. I have the greatest respect for him as a leader, a business strategist and a friend. I'm confident he'll become a great CEO. We'll miss Les and his wife, Sheri, very much. We wish them all the best. We're fortunate and thankful that Les has agreed to stay until October to ensure a smooth transition"
Kovacevich said Wells Fargo has an excellent management team ready to assume expanded responsibilities after Biller's retirement from the company. John Stumpf, currently group EVP for Western Banking and a 20-year veteran of the company, will become head of Community Banking, reporting to Kovacevich.
Reporting to Stumpf will be Carrie Tolstedt, currently group EVP for California Community Banking, Border Banking and Customer Strategies; Dennis Mooradian, group EVP, Private Client Services; Mike James, group EVP, Business Banking and Consumer Lending; and Cindy Gray, EVP, Marketing.
In the new organization, the regional presidents for Community Banking will report to Tolstedt. Mark Oman, group EVP, Mortgage and Home Equity, will report to Kovacevich. Dan Porter, group EVP, Wells Fargo Financial, will report to Oman. Webb Edwards, EVP, Technology and Operations; Dave Hoyt, group EVP, Wholesale Banking; Clyde Ostler, group EVP, Internet Services; Promod Haque, managing partner, Norwest Venture Capital; John Lindahl, managing partner, Norwest Equity Partners; and heads of corporate staff functions will continue to report to Kovacevich.
Wells Fargo is a $312 billion diversified financial services company providing banking, investments, insurance, mortgage, and consumer finance from more than 5,400 stores, the internet (wellsfargo.com ) and other distribution channels across North America and elsewhere internationally.