By Dan Freed
(Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co <WFC.N>, the third-largest U.S. bank by assets, said on Thursday it would merge its international business with its wholesale banking unit that serves corporate clients.
The bank also named Richard Yorke, who previously headed the international group, as chief operating officer for the wholesale banking business.
Spokesman Alan Elias said the international business previously stood on its own since it was so small that it needed more individual attention. The bank began to build its international operations in earnest after its acquisition of Wachovia at the start of 2009.
Wells Fargo derives just 4 percent of its revenues from outside the United States. That is a much smaller portion than rivals like JPMorgan Chase & Co <JPM.N>, Bank of America Corp <BAC.N> and Citigroup Inc <C.N>.
Still, the international presence grew considerably following acquisitions from General Electric Co <GE.N> last year. Wells Fargo now has operations in 42 countries and territories with close to 3,000 employees in Asia Pacific, Europe and the United Kingdom.
Before he takes on his new role, Yorke will assume an interim post as a senior member of a team of executives helping Wells Fargo plan for its possible bankruptcy. Joining that team on a permanent basis will be Scott Zaret, an executive from the bank's risk division.
Wells Fargo failed its resolution planning process in December and will have to submit a new plan to regulators in March. [L1N1E81RC]
Elias said the decision to move the international business inside the wholesale unit was not a response to December's failure.
(Reporting by Dan Freed in New York; Additional reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Peter Cooney)