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CIBC Management Changes Underscore Retail Focus, Nesbitt Says

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s management changes underscore a focus on consumer lending to boost revenue, said Richard Nesbitt, the head of investment banking.

The change “really allows us to focus on the retail business as our core driver of growth,” Nesbitt, group head of wholesale, international and technology operations, said today during a National Bank Financial conference in Montreal.

Nesbitt, 55, was promoted yesterday to a position that includes responsibility over treasury and international operations. He is the leading candidate to replace Chief Executive Officer Gerald McCaughey when he retires, according to a report today by the Globe and Mail, citing people it didn’t identify.

CIBC said in September it set an annual profit goal of C$3 billion ($3.1 billion) for consumer lending within three years, up from C$2.2 billion in 2010.

Canadian banking head Sonia Baxendale quit when she learned she wouldn’t become CEO, the Globe and Mail said. Chief Financial Officer David Williamson will take over most of Baxendale’s responsibilities as group head of retail and business banking, Toronto-based CIBC said yesterday. Kevin Glass, who joined the company in 2009, was named CFO.

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