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Bank of Montreal Chief Economist Sherry Cooper to Retire

Bank of Montreal, the country’s fourth-largest bank by assets, said chief economist Sherry Cooper will retire from the bank in January after a 30-year career.

Cooper, 62, a member of the 12-economist Economic Advisory Committee of the American Bankers Association, will retire Jan. 30, the Toronto-based bank said today in a statement. A replacement will be named next week or earlier, Cooper said.

“She brings clarity to the complexity of global economics and finance -- insights that have been invaluable to BMO and its clients,” Bank of Montreal Chief Executive Officer William Downe said in the statement.

Cooper said in an interview that she’d like to join public company boards, which she can’t do as a full-time employee of the bank. She didn’t specify which companies.

“There is now significant demand for women on public corporate boards,” Cooper said. “That goes through Europe, the U.K. and the U.S. and Canada. I have a significant interest in that.”

Cooper, who has a master’s degree and a doctorate in economics from the University of Pittsburgh, began her career with the U.S. Federal Reserve. She moved to Canada in 1983 and become chief economist of Burns Fry, which was later merged into BMO Capital Markets.

Cooper said she has a few regrets during her time at the bank, such as a research note she issued at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

“The powers that be around here called me and said ’what are you trying to? You’re going to scare the world! You’re going to scare all of our customers!’,” Cooper said. “Frankly, I should have been more pessimistic.”

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