Laurentian Bank has named Rania Llewellyn to be its next CEO, a move that the bank says makes her the first woman to hold the top job at a major Canadian lender.
Born in Kuwait, Rania immigrated to Canada in 1992. She comes to the top job at Montreal-based lender Laurentian after a 26-year career at Scotiabank, where she started as a teller before moving up to a series of managerial and executive roles, most recently the executive vice-president of global business payments.
“Rania Llewellyn is the right leader to usher in a new era at Laurentian Bank,” board member Michelle Savoy said in a release. “She has a proven track record as an energetic, strategic thinker focused on customer experience and tangible results. Following a rigorous search process, we are confident she is the change agent this bank needs to address the headwinds it faces and to establish a foundation for future growth and success,” said Savoy, who headed up the search process for a new CEO.
In a release, Llewellyn said she was “thrilled and honoured” to join the bank and added that she is “committed to always putting our customers first in everything we do. I look forward to working with my new colleagues across Canada and in the U.S. to develop a strategy for long-term growth and success that meets the needs and expectations of all our stakeholders.”
The bank says Llewellyn is the first woman to be CEO at a major chartered Canadian bank.
HSBC Canada, and online bank Tangerine are both headed up by women — Linda Seymour and Gillian Riley, respectively — but those banks are not independently operated, and are rather divisions of other, larger banks.
None of the so-called Big Five Canadian Banks — Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Toronto-Dominion Bank and the Royal Bank of Canada — have ever had a woman as CEO.
Laurentian bank has 2,900 employees and more than $28 billion in assets under management. Earlier this year Laurentian cut its dividend for the first time in 30 years.