BMO’s Downe Has No Plans to Step Down Amid Executive Shuffle

  • Management moves part of bank’s succession plan to build depth
  • Downe is longest serving among current Canadian bank CEOs

Bill Downe

Photographer: Norm Betts/Bloomberg

Bank of Montreal’s Bill Downe, the longest serving chief executive officer among Canada’s biggest lenders, said he has no immediate plans for retirement even after a management shuffle at the company.

“I don’t have a plan with a date on it, I can say that categorically,” Downe, 64, said in a Bloomberg TV Canada interview scheduled to be broadcast Wednesday. “The changes we’ve been making are really a pattern that you can look back over the last six or seven years, where we just keep building the capabilities of a very talented management team. We have a lot of depth.”

Bank of Montreal, the country’s fourth-largest lender, promoted its top investment banker, Darryl White, to chief operating officer as of Nov. 1, replacing Frank Techar, who became vice chairman. Patrick Cronin succeeded White as head of BMO Capital Markets and Gilles Ouellette took over as head of BMO Asset Management. Joanna Rotenberg was named head of wealth management.

The bank has been moving people between roles to “cross-train” senior management, Downe said, giving the Toronto-based company “many opportunities” for future leadership.

“Our succession plan is evident in the depth of the bench and the capabilities and it reduces uncertainty,” said Downe, who became CEO in March 2007. “As to what I’ll do, time will tell.”

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