Toronto-Dominion Bank has announced its biggest management shuffle under chief executive officer Bharat Masrani as the bank focuses on shifting costs away from traditional banking and toward a more technology-focused future.
The sweeping changes, affecting some of the top positions at the bank, appear to align key executives with Mr. Masrani – who became TD's chief executive officer about one year ago, after Ed Clark retired – and come at a time when Canada's Big Six banks are grappling with slowing growth.
Tuesday's announcement follows significant cost-cutting efforts at TD as it attempts to position itself for massive investments in technology and innovation. This shift is highlighted in the management shakeup, as some of the bank's best-known faces take on new roles.
Tim Hockey, group head of Canadian banking and wealth, will become president of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., the online brokerage in which TD owns a 41-per-cent stake, at the start of 2016. He will also become the brokerage's chief executive officer in September after the current CEO Fred Tomczyk retires.
"We decided that Tim Hockey would be a terrific leader there. He can take TD Ameritrade to the next level," Mr. Masrani said in an interview. "Once we decided to do that, we made the other moves."
Teri Currie, group head of direct channels who oversaw much of the bank's recent enhancements in online and mobile banking, steps into Mr. Hockey's role as group head of Canadian personal banking.
Colleen Johnston, TD's chief financial officer, takes over for Ms. Currie. Riaz Ahmed, who is currently group head of insurance, credit cards and enterprise strategy, becomes chief financial officer.
Both Ms. Johnston and Mr. Hockey had been seen as potential successors to Mr. Clark before he stepped down in 2014. Although Mr. Hockey has been with TD for more than 30 years, Mr. Clark lured Ms. Johnston to TD from Bank of Nova Scotia in 2004.
The executive shuffle could be seen as Mr. Masrani's move to assemble his own hand-picked team at the bank, in line with some of the recent changes at a number of other Canadian banks following the arrival of new chief executive officers.
But Ms. Johnston's job as chief financial officer was seen as a particularly demanding role, especially during the financial crisis. It's unclear, however, whether she wanted the change or whether the decision was Mr. Masrani's alone.
As well, although Mr. Hockey is leaving the parent company, he remains within the TD universe and will get CEO experience after he succeeds Mr. Tomczyk at TD Ameritrade, suggesting he could be poised for a return to TD itself one day.
The management shakeup was also noteworthy for whom it brought in – and when. The announcement on Tuesday follows significant cost-cutting efforts at the bank. TD announced $337-million in restructuring charges related to cost-cutting earlier this year, leading the Canadian banks, and there is more to come.
Ms. Currie will take responsibility for the bank's most profitable division, bringing with her an awareness of some of the critical threats banks face as financial technology upstarts and established technology giants attempt to nibble away at their market share.
"Ms. Currie's technology background is very significant," said Peter Routledge, an analyst at National Bank Financial.
In a recent note, he warned that TD and its peers face a material threat to their Canadian banking divisions from outside innovators, and must spend heavily to defend themselves.
In her previous role as head of direct channels, Ms. Currie was instrumental in securing a five-year partnership with Communitech, a technology hub in Waterloo, Ont., giving the bank access to local fintech startups and potential hires.
Last month, TD announced that it was expanding its presence in the region by adding more than 120 technology-focused jobs over the next year.
On Tuesday, though, Ms. Currie suggested that her appointment did not signal a shift in strategy: "Our customers are looking for us to help them solve their day-to-day financial problems or issues, and that's what we'll continue to focus on," she said.