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A Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) logo is seen on Bay Street in the heart of the financial district in Toronto, January 22, 2015.Mark Blinch/Reuters

Royal Bank of Canada RY-T has terminated chief financial officer Nadine Ahn after an investigation revealed that she had a personal relationship with another employee which led to preferential treatment.

Canada’s largest lender terminated Ms. Ahn’s employment earlier in the day, RBC said in a statement late Friday night.

RBC said that it was recently made aware of the allegations, and immediately commenced an internal review and contacted outside legal counsel to investigate.

“The investigation found evidence that, in contravention of the RBC Code of Conduct, Ms. Ahn was in an undisclosed close personal relationship with another employee which led to preferential treatment of the employee including promotion and compensation increases,” RBC said in a statement. “As a result, the two individuals have had their employment terminated.”

The bank added that the conduct by Ms. Ahn or the undisclosed employee had no effect on the RBC’s previously issued financial statements, its strategy, or its financial or business performance.

Ms. Ahn was named CFO in 2021 after more than 20 years in finance roles at the bank. As a member of the senior executive group, she was part of the team that set the overall strategic direction of RBC. In 2019, she was awarded by Women in Capital Markets as a Champion of Change as a leader that advocates for the advancement of women.

RBC declined a request for comment, referring instead to its press release.

The news of Ms. Ahn’s termination comes a week after RBC closed and integrated its $13.5-billion acquisition HSBC Bank Canada, marking the largest domestic banking takeover on record.

RBC appointed senior vice president, finance and controller Katherine Gibson as interim chief financial officer while the lender conducts a search for Ms. Ahn’s replacement. She has worked at the bank for more than two decades and has experience leading global teams and major strategic initiatives.

RBC said in the statement that Ms. Gibson is “widely considered a trusted advisor with a strong analytical and governance mindset.”

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