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Bank of Montreal is promoting three executives inside capital markets, after its head of investment and commercial banking recently announced plans to retire.

Darryl White, an 18-year veteran at BMO, has been named head of global investment and corporate banking. C.J. Gavsie becomes head of foreign exchange products, in charge of activities in North America, Europe and Asia. And Luke Seabrook becomes head of financial products and debt products.

All three work within the division headed by Tom Milroy, chief executive officer of BMO's capital markets business, and the moves take effect March 31.

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Mr. Milroy said the promotions are part of a push to become a North American player in investment banking, adding that the shuffle is not related to the performance of the capital markets division, which slumped in the most recent quarter.

The announcement comes after Bill Butt, BMO's head of investment and commercial banking, said last week he is set to retire after 19 years with the firm.

"We had some great people ready to move up," Mr. Milroy said, adding the changes are "an evolution of the business as we look to get where we want to go."

Of Mr. Butt's plans to retire, Mr. Milroy said he "would very much like to have seen him stay in the business."

Mr. Butt is stepping back from his role at the end of March, but told Streetwise recently he has no immediate plans for life after BMO. During his time on the job, he helped turn BMO into one of the 20 busiest firms in the world.

BMO has finished at or near the top of the rankings for businesses that Mr. Butt oversaw for the past two years. In 2011, the bank was third in Thomson Reuters' rankings of busiest banks for helping Canadian companies sell new stock, and second in the business of advising on mergers involving Canadian companies.

In 2010, the firm was the busiest adviser on merger deals measured by dollar value, and the biggest underwriter of stock sales.

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BMO was also one of only two Canadian banks to make the top 20 last year in rankings of global investment banking fees. The firm rose four spots to the 20th slot with a 21 per cent increase in fees to $720.8-million (U.S.). That move came in a year when global fees declined 6 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters estimates.

Mr. Milroy said recent cuts in capital markets, including last week's announcement that 60 people were being laid off "in no way signals retrenchment" in the division. Rather, the moves are being done to "reset the expense line" as the bank continues to pursue its strategy of becoming a North American player in investment banking.

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Grant Robertson is an award-winning journalist who has been recognized for investigative journalism, sports writing and business reporting. More

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