Incoming Wells Fargo CEO to head San Francisco company from New York

Charles Scharf, the longtime business executive tapped to head Wells Fargo, will be working at the helm from New York, even though the company's headquarters is in California.

Though his decision to work remotely, rather than at the company’s San Francisco office, is not unusual, it begs the question: will Wells Fargo soon call New York home?

Wells Fargo first opened its doors more than a century ago in the Bay Area. The company has recently come under fire from critics, including, Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat and chair of the House Financial Services Committee, who has previously scrutinized and threatened to take action against big banks.

San Francisco is known for its high cost of living, which, as noted in the Los Angeles Times, could have made the search for a new CEO an even heftier task.

“We can’t help but think that Wells Fargo struggled to attract top talent for this position, and perhaps a compromise on the location of the CEO post was necessary in order to recruit Mr. Scharf,” Citigroup Inc. analyst Keith Horowitz wrote in a Friday memo to clients, according to the Times.

While Scharf, who gave up his job as Visa’s CEO to return to New York from San Francisco, isn’t going back to the West Coast, he says it will have little impact on his performance.

CEOs “spend very little time in the actual office,” he said during a Friday media call, and Wells Fargo has far-flung operations in cities including New York as well as Charlotte, North Carolina, Des Moines, Iowa and St. Louis.

More than 20,000 employees work in the company's Charlotte office, and thousands more are located in New York, Des Moines, St. Louis and Minneapolis, Scharf noted in the call.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
WFC WELLS FARGO & CO. 41.67 -0.33 -0.79%

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“I don’t think anyone would ever say in the places that I’ve worked that I’ve not been present,” he added. “Just the opposite. I’m looking forward to being present in all those places.”

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Scharf is set to begin his new role starting Oct. 21.