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Streetwise CIBC taps Silicon Valley executive for board as technology comes into focus

The large CIBC sign outside the bank's office building at the south east corner of King St. West and Bay St. on Oct 13 2015.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has appointed a Silicon Valley-based executive to its board of directors, a move that shows how serious the big banks are about raising their technology profiles.

CIBC said that Nanci Caldwell, a graduate of Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., will join its board on Dec. 4.

Caldwell worked for about two decades at Hewlett-Packard Co. in Canada and the United States, until 2001, with a focus on marketing. Since then, she has served on a number of software company boards from her home base in California, including JDA Software Group Inc., TIBCO Software Inc., LiveOps Inc., Deltek Systems Inc., Sophos PLC and Hyperion Inc.

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She is currently a director at Citrix Sytems Inc., a public company that develops software for creating mobile work spaces. In 2014, Citrix had sales of more than $3-billion (U.S.).

Ms. Caldwell's addition to the CIBC board comes as the big banks attempt to bolster their technological prowess and commitment to innovation as they confront the double challenge of shifting consumer expectations and a rising competitive threat from financial technology, or fintech, companies.

Consumers are conducting most of their day-to-day banking transactions online or with their smartphones, pushing the banks to create faster and simpler experiences for their customers before new competitors move in.

Earlier this week, Bank of Nova Scotia announced it had appointed Ignacio "Nacho" Deschamps, a former chief executive officer of BBVA Bancomer, Mexico's largest bank, as a strategic adviser for global digital banking, effective Jan. 4. In a release, Scotiabank called Mr. Deschamps a "digital banking innovator" who has developed fintech relationships in the U.S. and other markets.

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