Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, known for infighting when picking its leader, is considering breaking a century of banking tradition by looking for an outsider instead. Shareholders are wary of the uncertainty.
Bloomberg News reports that the bank said in April it’s looking internally and externally to replace retiring Chief Executive Officer Gerald McCaughey within two years. Previous CEO changes at CIBC have broken executives into factions as candidates vie for the spot. Choosing an outsider could head off a fight and the defections that follow -- or further rile the troops.
'To bring somebody in from the outside, there’s then a learning curve for that person, and personalities come into play', said John Kinsey, who helps manage about $933m at Caldwell Securities in Toronto. 'I’d just like to have something that’s planned and everyone knows where they fit into that plan'.
Even though internal hires are generally considered the safer route, the bank has suffered an exodus of talent after previous CEO changes. CIBC has two internal candidates to succeed McCaughey: David Williamson, head of personal and commercial banking, and Victor Dodig, who oversees wealth management, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter who requested anonymity.
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