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Governance

Wells Fargo forms stakeholder advisory council, names CalSTRS’ Anne Sheehan to group

Wells Fargo has launched a stakeholder advisory council to enhance its understanding of issues relevant to stakeholders and the company, and has named Anne Sheehan, director of corporate governance at the $219.6 California State Teachers' Retirement System, West Sacramento, among the members.

The council will look at ways of "serving the financial needs of underserved communities, diversity and social inclusion, and environmental sustainability," said a Wells Fargo news release Thursday.

The council is being led by Elizabeth Duke, who is set to become the company's board chairwoman on Jan. 1. Ms. Duke is currently vice chairwoman.

Other members include: Mindy S. Lubber, CEO and president of Ceres, a sustainability non-profit organization that works with investors; Michael Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending; Marc H. Morial, CEO and president of the National Urban League; Janet Murguia, CEO and president at UnidosUS, nonprofit advocacy group for Latinos; Nora Nash, director of corporate social responsibility for the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, a member of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility; and John Taylor, president and CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. Tim Sloan, Wells Fargo's president and CEO, is also expected to participate in the council.

The council, which is expected to meet several times in any given year, will provide feedback to Wells Fargo's board of director and senior management, a spokesman said in an email. The number of members may change over time, he said.

The council's launch comes a year after the company settled claims that it set up deposit and credit card accounts for clients without their permission.

At the company's annual shareholder meeting April 25, several large pension funds, including CalSTRS, voted against the election of nine or more Wells Fargo directors. All 15 directors were narrowly re-elected at the meeting, although three are expected to retire at the end of 2017.

"The formation of the stakeholder advisory council is part of our commitment to continued engagement with our stakeholders to obtain their feedback," said Ms. Duke in the Wells Fargo release. "The council consists of representatives of stakeholder groups especially important to the company, including groups focused on consumer rights, fair lending, the environment, human rights, civil rights and governance. It is important that the top leadership of our company hears directly from our stakeholders, and we look forward to benefiting from the council's diverse perspectives and experiences, particularly with respect to our commitment to our customers and communities."