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Gerry McCaughey, president and chief executive officer of CIBC, speaks during their annual general meeting in Montreal, April 24, 2014. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce said on Thursday that McCaughey will retire in two years, the latest in a series of leadership changes at Canada's top lenders.
Gerry McCaughey, president and chief executive officer of CIBC, speaks during their annual general meeting in Montreal, April 24, 2014. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce said on Thursday that McCaughey will retire in two years, the latest in a series of leadership changes at Canada's top lenders.
(Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

CIBC’s future has to include more risk

The next chief executive of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce will have to do something the departing Gerald McCaughey has not done: grow.

Mr. McCaughey has focused throughout his nine-year tenure on de-risking the bank, a reasonable goal given that the bank tended to find itself encountering the downside of risks its shareholders would rather have avoided (see Enron, or U.S. subprime, for the main examples.) But that strategy ran its course some time ago, and CIBC’s shareholders are paying now for the lack of a plan to make CIBC into something more dynamic.