Lloyd P. Johnson, former CEO and Chairman of Norwest Corporation, died last week in California at age 82.
A native Minnesotan, Johnson, become CEO of Norwest in 1985. The company’s headquarters in downtown Minneapolis had been destroyed three years earlier in what at the time was the costliest downtown office fire in U.S. history. Norwest had also sustained significant business losses in preceding years.
Johnson’s new management team revitalized the company through strong capital and credit quality, conservative risk profile, system-wide standards, and profit and growth. In the next seven years Norwest’s assets doubled, net income grew sevenfold, and it more than doubled the number of its stores nationwide.
“‘Trust’ is the key,” Johnson said at the time. “When mutual trust (among team members) is achieved, stand back and watch out—your company will begin to be transformed … (A) trusting and caring company … is a company of team players.”
Wells Fargo’s CEO and Chairman John Stumpf stated, “I believe it’s safe to say none of us would be enjoying the success our company is earning today without the foundation of our culture that Lloyd built with such integrity, discipline and caring in the 1980s and early 1990s.”
Norwest built a graceful 57-story headquarters tower under Johnson’s leadership, designed by architect Cesar Pelli. Norwest merged with Wells Fargo in 1998.