Bank of Montreal has poached its next chief financial officer from the ranks of a U.S. competitor, hiring Tayfun Tuzun as current finance chief Tom Flynn prepares to step aside.
Mr. Tuzun is currently chief financial officer at Ohio-based Fifth Third Bancorp, one of the largest lenders in the Midwestern United States and a direct competitor to BMO’s U.S. arm, BMO Harris Bank. He will join the Canadian bank as deputy chief financial officer on Nov. 16, then take over as CFO on Jan. 1 next year and will be based at BMO’s U.S. headquarters in Chicago.
“He’s a tech-savvy, transformation-savvy CFO," said Darryl White, BMO’s chief executive officer, in an interview. “We thought that the time was right for us to bring in some fresh talent from the outside for this particular role.”
Mr. White also said that there will be “no shift in direction” for the bank’s strategy under Mr. Tuzun. BMO is the country’s fourth-largest lender and has so far remained profitable and well capitalized through the coronavirus pandemic, even as it set aside more than $2.6-billion over two quarters to cover potential losses on loans. But the bank has battled concerns among some investors over its heavy exposure to commercial lending, as the health crisis batters sectors such as retail, hospitality and travel.
Mr. Flynn will stay with BMO as a vice-chair after he hands off to Mr. Tuzun in January. He joined the bank in 1992, helped steer it through a global financial crisis as chief risk officer starting in 2008 and worked closely with former CEO Bill Downe on BMO’s 2011 acquisition of Wisconsin-based Marshall & Ilsley Bank.
In his new job, Mr. Flynn will be charged with nurturing relationships with clients and bringing in new business – familiar territory from his time as an investment banker earlier in his career, when he led BMO’s Financial Institutions Group.
“He’s kind of seen it all, done it all," Mr. White said. "When I came into my role [as CEO] it was critical to me, frankly, that he was there for my transition. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from him over the last three years.”
BMO’s general counsel, Simon Fish, will also leave his role on Jan. 1 and become a special adviser to Mr. White, focusing on the bank’s sustainability strategy and environmental, social and governance programs.
Succeeding Mr. Fish as general counsel will be Sharon Haward-Laird, who was most recently the bank’s head of North American treasury and payment solutions. She is the first woman to be named general counsel at BMO and has worked at the bank for 20 years, including as head of corporate communications and investor relations.
“These changes came about because these are two leaders [Mr. Flynn and Mr. Fish] who have been in roles for a long time, and they wanted to try something different," Mr. White said. "And we wanted to figure out how to do that but not lose a step at the same time.”
In an internal memo, the bank also announced that chief digital officer Brett Pitts will become the bank’s head of North American treasury and payment solutions, and Mathew Mehrotra will be promoted to succeed Mr. Pitts as chief digital officer. Mr. Mehrotra is currently head of digital product management.
They will both join a newly created committee to shape BMO’s digital strategy, the Enterprise Digital First Forum, which will be chaired by the bank’s chief strategy and operations officer, Cameron Fowler. It will also include Mr. White and chief technology and operations officer Steve Tennyson.
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