Wells Fargo has expanded the role of Barri Rafferty just two months after the former Ketchum CEO joined the bank.
Formerly head of corporate communications, Rafferty is now simply head of communications with several additional teams reporting to her. Wells Fargo eliminated its CMO position and moved the bank’s company-wide marketing functions under Rafferty while product-specific marketing assets have been placed under the lines of the business they support, according to a company spokesperson.
Rafferty is specifically overseeing brand strategy and management, advertising, sponsorships, heritage and museums teams, as well as the brand integrated campaign lead teams. Both groups are led by Kathy Senior, head of brand sponsorship heritage, who reports to Rafferty.
The only other non-product-marketing group managed separately is the meeting and events team, which is reporting to head of strategy and transformation Robyn Luhning, who, like Rafferty, reports to vice chairman of public affairs Bill Daley.
The changes, part of a realignment in the wake of CMO Jamie Moldafsky’s departure, went into effect on September 13.
Rafferty said her shortlist of tasks for the next half-year includes working the new assets into a longer-term communications plan for the bank.
“Right now, I’m starting to build an integrated strategic plan. The key this fall is to look at all the assets we have and leverage those and create a new multi-year strategy,” she said.
Separating product marketing will help Wells Fargo address reputational challenges after its unauthorized account scandal. The changes will allow the bank to coordinate communications efforts around its purpose, societal impact and sustainability work and other comms and public affairs work, Rafferty said.
“This gives us a chance to give a fully integrated approach to the Wells Fargo brand,” Rafferty said. “With me now having the brand strategy, advertising, sponsorship and a lot of the heritage work, as well, if we can leverage all of those pieces with the comms and public affairs assets, we have a great opportunity to help the iconic brand.”
Wells Fargo was also hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. It reported a Q2 net loss of $2.4 billion on a revenue decrease of 17.6% to $17.8 billion. In August, the bank resumed layoffs, according to Bloomberg.
“This has not been an easy year for the financial community or the business community but we're very confident,” Rafferty said. “Wells Fargo has a new leadership team and has really focused on moving forward and is continuing to tackle the regulatory and risk areas and also is continuing to innovate for our customers moving forward. It’s a process, not a quick fix.”
In a memo to public affairs employees, Daley said the changes are part of the bank’s “go-forward marketing model” intended to “enhance the customer experience while furthering our brand narrative and continuing to rebuild trust with our stakeholders.”
Wells Fargo has five business lines: consumer and small business banking that includes 5,400 branches and a digital banking team; consumer lending, which handles home and auto loans, credit cards, merchant services and personal loans; wealth and investment management; commercial banking; and corporate and investment banking.