Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce CM-T has promoted Mark Usher to lead its innovation banking unit on the heels of Mark McQueen announcing his departure last week after five years at the lender.
Mr. Usher takes on the role of president and executive managing director of CIBC Innovation Banking as of Feb. 28, the bank said Monday. Mr. McQueen said Thursday that he is leaving the bank and that he had not yet decided on his next move.
Mr. McQueen and Mr. Usher – currently the managing director and North American market leader – both joined CIBC in 2018 when the bank acquired Toronto-based Wellington Financial, a specialty finance firm that focused on backing early- and mid-stage technology companies with a $300-million fund. Mr. McQueen was the chief executive officer of the firm.
Mr. Usher steps into the role amid a spate of tech layoffs, plunging share prices and plummeting valuations. Higher interest rates and inflation sparked a sharp downturn in 2021, causing investors to sour on the sector as companies cut costs.
“Mark [Usher] has a proven track record and has established himself as a dedicated and client-focused leader who is well-positioned to continue to build our business in the innovation ecosystem on both sides of the border,” Canadian banking head Jon Hountalas said in a statement.
Wellington was a launchpad for CIBC to rebuild its technology banking division as CIBC Innovation Banking. It brought on bankers with experience in technology financing as competitors also ramped up their own tech banking services, including Royal Bank of Canada, which combined its tech banking and venture units to create its RBCx division.
CIBC’s innovation unit has expanded its loan book to $2.9-billion from $400-million over three years and boosted profits before taxes to $59-million from $12-million, according to an investor presentation in 2022.
In the blog post, Mr. McQueen said that he is interested in opportunities in an entrepreneurial venture, a corporate role or a public-service-oriented position.
“Mark’s [McQueen] deep passion for his work leaves an indelible mark on the many clients he has helped to achieve their ambitions,” Mr. Hountalas said.