University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management
John Stumpf is the President, CEO, and Chairman of Wells Fargo & Company, the world’s largest bank by market value, its 270,000 team members serving one out of every three Americans in some fashion. Under Stumpf’s leadership, Wells Fargo has become the world’s 11th Most Respected Company according to Barron’s. In addition, Wells Fargo was America’s most generous company in 2012 and No. 2 in 2013 according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
Stumpf orchestrated one of the largest and most successful bank mergers in history when Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia. Over the course of his career, he has been named the Best CEO in Banking by Bloomberg Businessweek, identified as American Banker’s Banker of the Year in 2013, and listed among Bloomberg Markets’ 50 Most Influential leaders and innovators.
What truly sets Stumpf apart is that he never forgot the lessons he learned growing up as one of 11 children on a farm in rural Minnesota and the strong traditional values this upbringing and his education at the University of Minnesota provided. These circumstances helped him avoid the mistakes that plagued other financial institutions in the 2000s and have made Wells Fargo the most valuable bank in America.
This transformation did not happen overnight. Stumpf joined Wells when Norwest Bank took it over and assumed its name in 1998. Since then, Stumpf has been involved in about half of the 250 or so bank deals that have made Wells Fargo the company it is today. The biggest of those deals was the seamless acquisition of Wachovia in 2008 for 15 billion USD. Stumpf has continued to grow Wells Fargo by focusing on traditional banking activities and remaining true to the company’s culture and values. This emphasis has allowed Wells Fargo to emerge from the last financial crisis stronger than ever.
Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has called Wells Fargo his favorite bank and became its largest outside investor. It has been reported that a focus on Main Street banking and serving real customers in the real economy are big reasons why Buffet has more than 26 billion USD invested in the company.
Stumpf takes personal responsibility for diversity at Well Fargo, chairing its diversity council and requiring all managers who report to him to mentor an employee from a traditionally underrepresented group. Wells Fargo has also been a leader on LGBT employment issues. In 1987, it added "sexual orientation" to its equal employment opportunity policy. By the mid-1990s, only 5 percent of the Fortune 500 companies had made a similar move. Wells Fargo was also the first financial services firm to offer domestic-partner benefits. DiversityInc named Wells Fargo No. 1 Best Company for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Employees, 7th Best Company for Veterans, and 11th Best Company for Diversity. Further, Wells Fargo was the first major financial services company in the U.S. to accept the Matricula card, a primary form of identification for Mexican nationals to open bank accounts—helping Mexican nationals reduce the risks associated with a cash economy.