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A CIBC sign is seen in Toronto, on Sept. 3, 2020.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce executive Deepak Khandelwal is leaving the bank next month, three years after CIBC paid a steep price to poach him from the telecommunications sector.

Mr. Khandelwal, who is in his early 50s, will retire from his role as chief client experience officer at the end of October, according to an internal memo that was sent to staff early this month.

When he joined CIBC in July of 2017, Mr. Khandelwal was tasked with making the bank more focused on clients' satisfaction, with oversight of digital products, data and call centres, among other areas. He previously spent three years as chief customer officer at Rogers Communications Inc., where then-CEO Guy Laurence had made improving the telecommunications giant’s customer experience a top priority.

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Mr. Khandelwal was a high-profile hire for CIBC, and he came with a high price tag. To compensate him for deferred compensation he gave up when he left Rogers, CIBC’s board agreed to pay him a “buy-out award" of $9.85-million in 2017. Combined with a pro-rated base salary of $184,726 and other share-based compensation, Mr. Khandelwal was paid nearly $12.3-million in his first half-year at the bank. “Mr. Khandelwal’s experience in the market is in high demand and is a critical component of achieving our client strategy," the bank said at the time, in a company filing.

Before Rogers, Mr. Khandelwal worked as Google Inc.'s vice-president of global customer experience, having launched his career at McKinsey & Co., the global consulting firm where CIBC chief executive officer Victor Dodig also cut his teeth.

Mr. Khandelwal did not respond to requests for comment, and a CIBC spokesperson declined to comment.

Two years after Mr. Khandelwal joined CIBC, he was promoted to senior executive vice-president in September of 2019, joining the bank’s top echelon of executives who report directly to Mr. Dodig. More recently, the bank shuffled several top executives in February, including its heads of retail banking and of technology, as well as its chief risk officer.

Mr. Khandelwal “established steady momentum in improving our client experience results,” said Christina Kramer, the bank’s head of technology, infrastructure and innovation, in the staff memo. On his watch, CIBC reached its highest Net Promoter Score – a metric many large corporations watch closely that measures how likely customers are to recommend its products and services to others.

Dave Revell, the bank’s executive vice-president of technology, will also retire at the end of October. But several other executives are taking on new or expanded roles as CIBC continues to invest in improving its technologies and its digital banking tools for customers.

Dave Gillespie is promoted to executive vice-president of infrastructure and Richard Jardim will be chief information officer. The bank has hired Bruce Hodges, most recently chief operating officer at Foresters Financial, as transformation officer for the technology, infrastructure and innovation group. Keith Gordon has been hired as chief security officer, after holding a similar position at Ally Financial in the United States. And Mike Boluch, a former technology and operations executive, will now be a strategic adviser to the bank’s executive committee.

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