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RBC’s Taylor to Be First Female Chairman of Canadian Bank

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Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Bank of Canada said Kathleen Taylor will take over as chairman in 2014, making her the first woman to lead the board of one of the nation’s biggest lenders.

David O’Brien, 71, will retire at the end of the year and remain on the board until the company’s annual general meeting on Feb. 26, Toronto-based RBC, Canada’s largest bank, said yesterday in a statement.

“I appreciate the confidence of the board and look forward to building on the bank’s achievements together,” Taylor, 56, said in the statement.

Women serve as chairman, or equivalent role, at 10 publicly listed Canadian firms with market values of at least C$500 million ($474.6 million), data compiled by Bloomberg show. Taylor will be the first to lead one of the nation’s banks, RBC said. In 2011, Beth Mooney took over as chairman and chief executive officer of Cleveland-based KeyCorp, becoming the first woman to lead one of the 20 biggest independent U.S. banks.

Taylor, the former CEO of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, has been on RBC’s board since 2001, according to the bank.

RBC said in a separate statement that Chief Risk Officer Morten Friis will retire on Jan. 10 after more than three decades at the firm. He will be succeeded by Mark Hughes, chief operating officer of RBC Capital Markets, according to the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Katia Dmitrieva in Toronto at edmitrieva1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.net