Bank of Montreal CEO Bill Downe hands over to Darryl White

  • After almost eleven years on the job
  • Laud, praise and thanks for Downe
  • Downe spoke at length and said 168 words

(exechange) — Toronto, Ontario, Canada, April 07, 2017 — Bill Downe, chief executive of Bank of Montreal, leaves. His departure is made public at an early stage. As announced by BMO Financial Group in a news release on Friday, April 07, 2017, William A. (Bill) Downe leaves the post as Chief Executive Officer at Bank of Montreal after almost eleven years on the job, effective October 31, 2017.

It is the end of an era.

Downe’s duties are taken over by Darryl White, currently Chief Operating Officer at Bank of Montreal.

The move is a generational change as well. Darryl White is about 20 years younger than Bill Downe.

Downe is the longest-serving chief executive officer among Canada’s largest lenders.

“Planned succession”

The management change is explained as follows. Robert Prichard, Chairman of BMO Financial Group, said: “This planned succession will provide continuity for our bank as we focus on the strategic priorities that have been set, in this, our 200th year of serving customers.”

After the conclusion of his tenure as CEO, Downe will remain engaged with the bank in an advisory capacity “for a brief period”, BMO said.

Precise information about the future plans of Downe was not immediately available.


BMO Financial Group said: “Robert Prichard, Chairman of BMO Financial Group …, today announced that Bill Downe has shared his intention to retire as Chief Executive Officer of the bank on October 31, 2017.”

Share price rise since February 2009

The change follows a rise in the share price of BMO Financial Group since February 2009.

Royal Bank of Canada holds 7.74 percent stake

Royal Bank of Canada reported a 7.74 percent stake in Bank of Montreal as of December 31, 2016.

Chaired by Robert Prichard

BMO Financial Group is chaired by Robert Prichard.

Robert Prichard is Chairman of the Board of Bank of Montreal, having been appointed to this position effective March 20, 2012.

On the job as CEO since 2007

William Downe is Chief Executive Officer of BMO Financial Group. He was appointed CEO on March 1, 2007.

Downe joined Bank of Montreal in 1983 and held a variety of senior management positions in Canada and the U.S. In 1999, he was appointed Vice-Chair, Bank of Montreal and in 2001, he was named Deputy Chair, BMO Financial Group & Chief Executive Officer, BMO Nesbitt Burns.

In 2006, he was appointed Chief Operating Officer of BMO Financial Group.

Downe is a director of ManpowerGroup Inc. and a member of their Executive Compensation and Human Resources Committee. He is on the Rush University Medical Center Board of Trustees, and is a member of their Development and Compensation and Human Resources Committees.

Downe is a director of Catalyst Inc., a member of their Audit Committee and serves as Chair of Catalyst’s Canadian Advisory Board.

Additionally, he is on the board of the Business Council of Canada as well as their Governance and Nominating Committee.

Downe is an advisory board member of the Rotman School of Management Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) at the University of Toronto, and a member of the Economic Club of Chicago.

Downe served on the board of the International Monetary Conference (IMC) and was a member of their Nominating Committee.

He served on the National Executive Committee of the 2015 Governor General Canadian Leadership Conference and is Past President of the Federal Reserve Board’s Federal Advisory Council.

Downe is the only Canadian member of the International Business Leaders Advisory Council of the Mayor of Beijing (IBLAC).

He is also a member of the International Advisory Council of Guanghua School of Management at Peking University.

Downe is a member of the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation Board, a member of the Executive Committee, and a member of the Campaign Cabinet.

He is also a member of the campaign executive for The Campaign for the University of Toronto.

Downe served as Chairman of the 2009 Campaign Cabinet for United Way of Greater Toronto, and is also past Chair of the Board of Directors of St. Michael’s Hospital.

Downe holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Toronto.

He has also received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Downe was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada and was recognized by the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Canada Institute, receiving the Award for Corporate Citizenship.

In 2003, Downe received the Rotman Distinguished Business Alumni Award from the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management.

Downe will serve as CEO for the remainder of fiscal 2017 and will work closely with White to ensure a smooth succession.

Read the full story in the exechange report 15.2017 ($).