Uncovering the Hidden Clues of CEO Succession Planning in Recent Executive Shake-Ups at Big Banks
Succession Planning in Canada’s Biggest Banks
Change has been in the air in the senior ranks of Canada’s biggest banks in recent months, leading some to speculate whether the shake-ups are just routine business or signs that another succession surprise may be coming. This article will explore the recent changes in the Canadian banking sector and the implications of these changes for succession planning.
Bank of Nova Scotia
The first shock came in September when the Bank of Nova Scotia announced that chief executive Brian Porter would retire and be replaced by Finning CEO Scott Thomson, with Thomson officially taking the helm this month.
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has seen the most action, with at least four high-profile changes. Most recently, Mark McQueen departed the bank’s innovation banking unit on Feb. 6 and will be replaced by Mark Usher next week. Earlier this month, Laura Dottori-Attanasio retired as group head of Canadian personal and business banking to take on the role of CEO of Element Fleet Management, with Jon Hountalas slated to add that role to his portfolio, which already includes Canadian commercial banking and wealth management. Those followed the naming of Susan Rimmer as head of the bank’s global corporate and investment banking franchise and the appointment of chief risk officer Shawn Beber to head of the bank’s U.S. division on Oct. 4.
Bank of Montreal
At the Bank of Montreal, Nadim Hirji was appointed head of the bank’s commercial banking division on Feb. 15.
Royal Bank of Canada
There has also been action at the board level, with Jacynthe Côté slated to take over as chair of the Royal Bank of Canada when Kathleen Taylor retires in April.
While the moves may reflect the routine course of business, they could also be a preliminary step in setting the stage for the chief executive succession planning process, industry watchers say. Former Royal Bank of Canada chief executive Gord Nixon, familiar with the succession-planning process, said the former is most likely true this time as banks often aim to reshuffle the deck to start the year. But he also said that putting prospective candidates in new positions to broaden their experience running different parts of the banking business is a common tactic.
- Gord Nixon is currently chairman of the board of BCE Inc.
- Mirko Bibic is the chief executive of BCE Inc.
- Kathleen Taylor is set to retire as chair of the Royal Bank of Canada in April.
Recent changes in the senior ranks of Canada’s biggest banks could signify succession planning or a routine course of business. However, it is common for prospective candidates to be put in new positions to broaden their experience in running different parts of the banking business.
The recent changes in Canada’s biggest banks could indicate succession planning or routine business. However, it is common to put prospective candidates in new positions to broaden their experience in running different parts of the banking business.