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Jeff Rubin, one of Canada's most outspoken and occasionally controversial economists, is leaving Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce at the end of March.

Mr. Rubin, currently the chief economist and chief strategist of CIBC World Markets Inc., has announced that he is going on to pursue other interests, including his new book that will be published in May.

His plans for promoting the book include a world tour.

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Mr. Rubin joined the bank as a senior economist in 1988, and was made chief economist in 1992. According to an internal announcement, he's been named the country's top economist 10 times.

He will be replaced by fellow CIBC economist Avery Shenfeld, who joined the bank in 1993 after spending seven years in management consulting. He was on the economics faculty at the University of Toronto, and holds a PhD in economics from Harvard University.

Mr. Rubin accurately predicted in 2000 that oil prices would hit $50 (U.S.) a barrel within five years. He recently forecast that oil will reach $225 a barrel by 2012.

His book, Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller, is due out in May. In a news release Friday, publisher Random House Canada said the book looks at ways in which oil scarcity will lead to the end of globalization.

"Though the book grew out of my experience as an economist on Bay Street, this is not a book about financial markets," Mr. Rubin said in the release. "It's a book about the way the world is about to change. We've all got our eyes right now on the global financial meltdown, but I believe that oil scarcity will change the global economy even more profoundly and in the process change all of our lives - from where we work to where we live to what we eat."

His decision to leave the bank comes amid a changing of the guard among top Canadian economists. Ted Carmichael from JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Canadian unit left last year for the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) after his shop downsized in Toronto. Former National Bank of Canada chief economist Clement Gignac left late last year to join the Department of Finance. Dale Orr left his post as chief economist at IHS Global Insight this year to set up his own consultancy.

-With files from Heather Scoffield

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