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Bank of Montreal said it hired Brian Tobin, a former Newfoundland and Labrador premier, as vice chairman of its BMO Capital Markets investment-banking unit.

Tobin, 58, will be based in Toronto, reporting to Darryl White, global head of investment and corporate banking, Canada’s fourth-biggest bank said today in a statement.

“This is really a hands-on, active deal-making role,” White said in a telephone interview from Toronto. “What we’re looking at here is a sleeves-rolled-up guy, and that’s what Brian’s been his entire career.”

Tobin was premier of Newfoundland and Labrador from 1996 to 2000, winning two consecutive majority governments. He was a federal lawmaker with Canada’s Liberal Party from 1980 to 1996, and from 2000 to 2002. His federal political career included positions as minister of fisheries and oceans and minister of industry. Most recently, Tobin has been a senior business adviser with Dentons Canada LLP in Toronto.

“I’ve spent most of my life in one form or another being very much at the pointy edge of a stick in the negotiating room,” Tobin said in an interview. “That experience, both in public policy and in the private sector, puts me in a very good position to understand very well client needs.”


Tobin said he expects to help BMO’s efforts to gain business from Asia, notably China, and “reinvigorate” himself in Western Canada’s oil-and-gas industry while building on his expertise in the Canadian manufacturing sector.

Tobin is a director with Aecon Group Inc. and chairman of New Flyer Industries Inc. He was executive chairman and chief executive officer of Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Ltd. until its takeover by Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. in May 2011.

“I’m not interested in being a meet-and-greet guy or government relations guy,” Tobin said. “I’m interested in being involved; as we say in Newfoundland, face-and-eyes in the deal.”

Tobin is the latest in a string of political hires by Canada’s biggest banks.

Bank of Montreal hired former Canadian bureaucrat Kevin Lynch in March 2010 for a new role as vice chairman at the Toronto-based bank. Lynch, a former Clerk of the Privy Council, spent 33 years working with the government.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, the country’s fifth-biggest bank, hired former federal environment minister Jim Prentice in January 2011 as a vice chairman. And Toronto-Dominion Bank, the second-largest lender, hired Frank McKenna, a former New Brunswick premier and former Canadian ambassador to the U.S., as a deputy chairman in May 2006.

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