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Craig Wright, RBC's Chief Economist, pictured at the Economic Club of Ontario in 2007, is retiring in June after 23 years in the position.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The longest-serving chief economist at the country’s big banks, Craig Wright at Royal Bank of Canada RY-T, has announced plans to retire at the end of June.

Mr. Wright joined RBC in 1994 and served as chief economist for 23 years. In an internal e-mail to employees on Tuesday, RBC senior vice-president John Stackhouse said clients called Mr. Wright “‘the fascinating economist’ for finding ways to make economics news interesting.”

RBC plans to name a new chief economist prior to Mr. Wright’s departure this summer.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Wright forecast markets for four RBC chief executive officers, and across the administrations of four Canadian prime ministers and five U.S. presidents. The internal note said Mr. Wright “helped the bank, our clients and partners in the public and private sector navigate major issues, from 9/11 to the global financial crisis, through Brexit, and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation and interest rate hikes.”

In addition to his responsibilities at RBC, Mr. Wright is one of 13 members on the CD Howe Monetary Policy Council, which gives independent advice on inflation targets and interest rates to the Bank of Canada. He is also on the British Columbia Economic Forecast Council, which provides input to the province’s finance minister ahead of budgets.

Mr. Wright earned an undergraduate degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and a graduate degree from University of Toronto, and is now on the Dean’s Advisory Council at Laurier.

Once Mr. Wright retires, Laurentian Bank of Canada’s Sébastien Lavoie will have bragging rights as the banking sector’s longer-serving chief economist. He took the top job in 2006, two years before the next longest tenured member of the club, National Bank of Canada chief economist Stéfane Marion.

RBC recently cemented its status as the country’s largest bank by acquiring HSBC Bank Canada for $13.5-billion. It counts one in four Canadians as customers, employs approximately 100,000 people and has built global wealth management, corporate lending and investment banking platforms.

Toronto-based RBC’s $186-billion market capitalization makes it one of the world’s largest financial institutions. Regulators designate RBC and Toronto-Dominion Bank as the country’s only global systemically important banks.

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