A pedestrian passes in front of a Wells Fargo & Co. bank branch in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)

Wells Fargo Shakes Up Wholesale Division, Elevating Adams

(Bloomberg) -- Wells Fargo & Co. is shaking up its wholesale division, including some of its investment banking operations, promoting John Adams to serve as the unit’s chief operating and strategy officer.

The San Francisco-based bank announced the changes Thursday, shifting executives and merging some teams, just days after telling staff the division’s chief operating officer, Richard Yorke, is leaving. Measures include the creation of a new group called commercial banking that combines business banking, government and institutional banking, and middle market banking under Kyle Hranicky.

“These changes are important for our business, and are closely connected with other transformational efforts happening across the enterprise that increase our company’s efficiency and effectiveness,” said Perry Pelos, head of the wholesale business.

Pelos vowed in May to improve the division’s profitability, telling investors it can shave its efficiency ratio to less than 50 percent, from 55 percent in 2017. The initiative is part of a broad push at the bank to hone operations while the company is subject to a Federal Reserve cap on growth.

While announcing Yorke’s departure last week, Pelos signaled he was planning more organizational changes. The bank is also considering selling commercial real estate broker Eastdil Secured, a person briefed on the matter said last month.

Among new measures, Pelos announced the creation of a corporate and investment banking unit comprised of the corporate banking group, financial institutions group and Wells Fargo Securities. Lisa McGeough, head of the financial institutions group, and Wells Fargo Securities co-heads Walter Dolhare and Rob Engel will lead the unit.

Adams’s previous role as head of middle market banking will not be filled. The company said five regional middle market banking leaders will report directly to Hranicky.

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