Wells Fargo and Co., the big bank caught in the middle of an intense scandal over opening millions of phony accounts in its customers’ names, held its 2017 annual shareholder meeting at the posh Sawgrass Marriott Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The setting seemed oddly inappropriate given recent events.
Hiding away with a heavy police presence in a fortress resort some 2,700 miles from the San Francisco-based company’s headquarters might have been a good way to keep the protesting hordes from descending. But the critics came anyway, turning the meeting into what, at times, was a circus, complete with shouting and ejections.
When it came to planning their meeting, what did Wells Fargo get right and what did they get wrong?
In a time when bad news can spread like wildfire and cause a rapid backlash among customers and shareholders, boards that fail to respond quickly and effectively when trouble emerges are left vulnerable to scrutiny and criticism, if not liability, and even a challenge from assertive investors.