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Scotiabank CEO Brian Porter to retire next year, Finning CEO will take over

Finning boss to Scotia

Scotiabank chief executive Brian Porter will retire at the end of January next year.

The bank announced Monday that he will be replaced by Scott Thomson, currently president and chief executive of heavy equipment dealer Finning International Inc.

Thomson has been a member of the Scotiabank board since 2016.

Barclays analyst John Aiken said in a note to clients that the appointment of a Canadian bank CEO from outside of the organization and industry is "surprising." 

"That said, with Mr. Thomson’s involvement in the board (and several committees), we do not expect the transition to be jarring and the move leads us to believe that there should not be an immediate shift in Scotia’s strategy as Mr. Thomson has been involved in developing it at the board level," said Aiken.

"Further, we believe that his experience in Latin America is a positive and was likely a component that attracted the search committee."

Aiken noted that during Thomson's tenure, he "significantly improved" the company’s earnings capacity, driving increased return on invested capital, particularly in Latin America.

Thomson will retire from Finning on Nov. 15 and become president at Scotiabank starting on Dec. 1, where he will be responsible for Canadian Banking, Global Banking and Markets, Global Wealth Management, and International Banking, before taking over as chief executive on Feb. 1, 2023.

Thomson has an investment banking background and experience in telecom and the natural resource industry.

Porter joined Scotiabank in 1981 and became chief executive on Nov. 1, 2013.

To aid in the transition, he will serve as a strategic adviser to Thomson from Feb. 1 to April 30, 2023.

During his time as Scotiabank's CEO, Porter presided over the sale of the bank’s CI Financial stake and acquisition of Jarislowsky Fraser and MD Health, and overhauled the bank's Latin America-focused business.

"I have always believed that banking is a calling and serving this enduring, 190-year-old institution as president and CEO has been the honour of my lifetime," Porter said in a statement attached to Scotiabank's announcement. 

"I leave the bank with the same sense of optimism that marked the start of my time in this role. I am confident that Scott Thomson will guide the bank through the next phase of its growth and development. He is a results-driven and proven leader who executes with purpose and shares values that are aligned with those of the bank. I have every confidence he will lead the bank exceedingly well."

In a separate news release, Finning said Kevin Parkes, currently chief operating officer at the company, will succeed Thomson as president and chief executive officer.



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