The board made the correct decision for the company given the bad press, but I consider it a poor decision industry wise. It also continues a trend of increasing government power and authority, which I am not sure is a positive thing in the long run.
It is correct that CEOs already asked for that and this has reinforced that logic. That said I consider this situation different because of the narrative that was spun and the circumstances.
1. Essentially made no material profit for WFC.
2. Was a sales program well below the executive level
3. Stumpf has performed well during his time as CEO
4. WFC immediately cooperated when this was discovered. To my knowledge they were the ones who turned it over, it was not discovered by the government first.
5. Due to 1 & 2 it's hard to imagine a scenario where this was intentional on the part of the WFC executive team
So while I don't disagree that CEO will ultimately bear responsibility or may potentially be forced to fall on their sword if the company takes a black eye, I wouldn't expect it for a paper cut.
The idea that a scandal of any magnitude will result in your dismissal is a new paradigm. Jamie Diamond wasn't let go for the London Whale fiasco, in which not only was there a far stronger case for his termination, but he made the situation worse by his actions when he publicly announced the position and all the hedgefunds took the opposite position.