Laurentian CEO heads for the exits

Over the summer, analysts were pretty confident that major banks would be interested in buying Laurentian. But now, even the CEO doesn’t want to work there.

What happened: Laurentian Bank is bidding adieu to CEO Rania Llewellyn, the first woman to head a major Canadian bank, after just three years in the role. Eric Provost, who was formerly in charge of personal and commercial banking, will take her place, per Bloomberg.

  • Llewellyn is heading for the exits shortly after the bank, failing to find a buyer, opted to enhance its existing strategy, emphasizing commercial lending and tech upgrades.

  • Provost's immediate to-do list will involve damage control after a recent outage disrupted customer services, though deeper issues may have led to the shake-up. 

Why it matters: Even though it's smaller than any of the Big Five, Laurentian’s decisions, strategies, and overall financial health can influence segments of the Canadian financial market, particularly within the province of Québec, where it has a stronger presence.

Bottom line: The abrupt leadership change raises questions about the future direction and stability of one of Canada’s largest banks. Laurentian's shares plummeted to their lowest level in nearly a year, a 19% drop since announcing the bank could not find a buyer.—SB