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The large CIBC sign outside the bank's Bay St. office is pictured in this file photo.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce bulked up its newly launched "innovation banking" team Monday by hiring cross-border tech financier Robert Rosen away from rival Comerica Inc.

Mr. Rosen worked with technology and life science companies across Canada over the past 17 years as the Toronto-based senior vice president and regional managing director at Comerica, which is based in Dallas. Comerica and California-based Silicon Valley Bank rank as the most significant U.S. lenders doing business in Canadian tech circles.

Mr. Rosen jumped ship to join a fresh-minted unit called CIBC Innovation Banking, created in January when the Toronto-based bank acquired specialty finance firm Wellington Financial and its $300-million tech-focused debt fund. The CIBC group is run by executive managing director Mark McQueen, former CEO of Wellington.

At CIBC, Mr. Rosen will be managing director. Prior to joining Comerica in 2000, he spent four years at Deutsche Bank Canada.

CIBC pledged it would expand the resources it devotes to early- to mid-stage tech companies when it acquired Wellington. The unit's focus is providing advisory services and capital to growth companies.