“Stumpf” is a German adjective for someone who’s obtuse, slow on the uptake, imperceptive, or to put it bluntly, stupid.
Ironically, it also happens to be the surname of Wells Fargo’s CEO, who’s now mired in the most shameful banking scandal yet. For seven years or so, John Stumpf has presided over a venal bank policy, pressuring Wells Fargo’s retailing employees into systematically stealing from particularly vulnerable, low-income customers of the bank.
During this time, he padded his own fortune with more than $100 million in personal pay. When this mass rip-off was recently exposed, Stumpf — the big boss getting the big bucks to be in charge — pleaded ignorance.
In an act of what Senator Elizabeth Warren called “gutless leadership,” he publicly blamed the corrupt corporate culture on thousands of the bank’s low-level employees.
But the chief wasn’t the only stumpf at Wells Fargo. Where were its board members, who are empowered and duty-bound to set, monitor, and assure ethical corporate behavior from the top down?