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By Imani Moise and C Nivedita

(Reuters) - Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) & Co said on Monday Scott Powell will become chief operating officer, the second external recruit to join the top ranks since Chief Executive Charles Scharf took over six weeks ago.

Powell, who worked with Scharf at Bank One and then JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) & Co, most recently was chief executive officer of Santander (MC:SAN) Holdings USA Inc as well as of Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc.

Starting Dec. 9, Powell will report directly and will focus on Wells Fargo's relationships with regulators, which have been strained since the bank became tangled in a wide-ranging sales practices scandal in 2016.

Last month the bank hired another former JP Morgan executive and previous White House official, William Daley, to head public affairs.

Wells Fargo's board set a goal of hiring an outsider to lead the company following former CEO Tim Sloan's retirement to satisfy critics who claimed an insider could not transform the company's culture.

Scharf, who joined the company in October from Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE:BK) Corp, is known to shake up leadership. Since he took over, general counsel and former interim CEO Allen Parker, and company veteran Avid Modjtabai have made plans to leave the company.

The chief operating officer position has been vacant since October 2016, when Tim Sloan was promoted as CEO.


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