What Wells Fargo’s fake accounts scandal says about how women in leadership are punished

After a huge scandal involving thousands of employees and two million unauthorized accounts, Wells Fargo announced last week that it would claw back an additional $75 million from John Stumpf, the bank’s former CEO, and Carrie Tolstedt, the former head of community banking. While the two were most certainly at fault, a deeper dive into a 113-page board report raises some questions about the mindset behind the internal investigation and whether gender played a role.

Tolstedt, who had enjoyed a positive reputation as one of a comparatively small number of female senior bank leaders, reportedly contests the board report and the blame it assigns her. And she’s right to do so. For starters, Stumpf was allowed to retire from the bank in October of 2016, while Tolstedt was fired a month before, rather than being allowed to step down. And she was hit harder financially, forced to pay back $47 million on top of her original $19 million, while Stumpf will pay back another $28 million in addition to his original $41 million, far less in relative compensation.

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