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Scotiabank sees wave of key bankers leave amid shake-up

Since becoming chief executive of Scotiabank, Brian Porter has shaken up staff, aiming to reshape executive culture.

Jeff McIntosh/THE CANADIAN PRESS

A wave of recent departures at the Bank of Nova Scotia is reshaping the bank's talent pool.

John Tuer, managing director and head of mergers and acquisitions, is leaving the bank, the latest high-profile exit in Scotiabank's global banking and markets division, according to people familiar with the matter.

There are several others – among the people who have left or announced intentions to leave in recent weeks are Greg Woynarski, who was global head of origination, debt capital markets and global fixed income, and Camilla Sutton, global head of foreign exchange and a notable public commentator for the bank, those people said.

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Since becoming chief executive officer in November, 2013, Brian Porter has shuffled executives and let go hundreds of other staff with a goal of reshaping corporate culture and boosting the focus on technology at the third-largest bank by assets. He also brought in consultants from McKinsey & Co. to review the organization and help trim expenses.

Those efforts come as the Canadian banking sector is undergoing significant changes. Major banks have cut costs and restructured their operations as they grapple with a relatively weak domestic economy and the rise in new financial technology firms threatening to shake up the industry. Many of the country's major lenders have also made CEO changes in recent years, resulting in adjustments to their strategies and the reorganization of their businesses including investment banking.

Other bankers are also decamping from Scotiabank. They include Mohamed Walji, managing director of diversified industries, and London-based Haroon Sana, who was head of fixed income, currencies and commodities in Europe.

There's also the recently announced departure of Adam Waterous, former global head of investment banking.

In January, he revealed his plans to launch a Calgary-based, $400-million private equity fund focused on private junior oil and gas companies and startups that use state-of-the-art extraction technology.

A spokesperson for Scotiabank declined to comment on the personnel changes.

This most recent round of reshuffling comes against a backdrop of strong results for capital markets businesses on Bay Street, with several brokers reporting sharp gains in trading activity as investors rushed to adjust their portfolios after the surprise election of Donald Trump as U.S. President. Scotiabank, which reported earnings Tuesday, said its global banking and markets division posted a 28 per cent increase in net income to $469-million during its fiscal first quarter compared with the same period last year.

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The bank attributed these results to higher contributions from fixed income and European and Canadian lending. It also said it set aside less money to cover bad loans during the three months ended Jan. 31. These gains were partly offset by lower results in investment banking and the bank's lending business in Asia.

This round of exits at Scotiabank comes on the heels of some other notable departures in recent years that surprised onlookers inside and outside the bank.

Well-known banker David Skurka, who was co-head of investment banking, left the bank in 2015.

The bank named new regional heads for Latin America and Mexico, as well as a new chief risk officer, chief operating officer, wealth management head and marketing head, among others.

In 2016, Dieter Jentsch took the reins of the global banking and markets division from Mike Durland, bringing his own efficiency-focused approach to leading the business.

Mr. Jentsch's career with Scotiabank has spanned more than 30 years, and he was most recently group head of international banking.

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About the Authors
Capital Markets Reporter

Christina Pellegrini is a reporter at The Globe and Mail and a regular contributor to Streetwise, covering capital markets, the exchange business and market structure.She writes about the capital markets divisions of BMO, CIBC and National Bank; independent brokerages such as Canaccord Genuity; and the Canadian operations of foreign dealers including JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and Citigroup. More

Banking Reporter

James Bradshaw is banking reporter for the Report on Business. He covered media from 2014 to 2016, and higher education from 2010 to 2014. Prior to that, he worked as a cultural reporter for Globe Arts, and has written for both the Toronto section and the editorial page. More

Reporter and Streetwise columnist

Tim Kiladze is a business reporter with The Globe and Mail. Before crossing over to journalism, he worked in equity capital markets at National Bank Financial and in fixed-income sales and trading at RBC Dominion Securities. Tim graduated from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and also earned a Bachelor in Commerce in finance from McGill University. More

Financial Services Reporter

Jacqueline Nelson is a financial services reporter at the Report on Business. Prior to that she was a staff writer at Canadian Business magazine, covering news and writing features on a wide variety of subjects. More

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