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National Bank’s Louis Vachon retiring after nearly 15 years as CEO

National Bank Chief Executive Officer Louis Vachon speaks to shareholders at the company's annual meeting Friday, April 21, 2017 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

National Bank of Canada chief executive Louis Vachon will retire at the end of October after nearly 15 years in the job, the bank said Wednesday.

Chief operating officer Laurent Ferreira will replace him in the top post starting Nov. 1, the Montreal-based bank said.

“The Board would like to recognize Louis Vachon’s exceptional contribution during his years at the helm of the Bank and thank him for the strong legacy he leaves behind,” said Jean Houde, chair of the bank’s Board of Directors, in a statement.

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Vachon has been CEO since June 2007 and also served as chief operating officer before heading the bank.

Over his term, the bank delivered compound annual total shareholder return of 13 per cent, noted Houde. The bank also saw its share price triple over his term.

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Ferreira joined National Bank in 1998 and became chief operating officer in February. Before that Ferreira was executive vice-president and co-head, financial markets.

Vachon said in a statement that he’d work on making a smooth transition to Ferreira at the helm.

“He has been central to the bank’s transformation and cultural shift, and he has played a key role in the success of our financial markets franchise. I’m confident that the bank will continue to succeed under Laurent’s leadership.”

The news would not affect the bank’s credit rating, said DBRS Ltd. in a statement, noting the transition is likely to be a smooth one.

“In DBRS Morningstar’s view, this management change is expected to be seamless because Ferreira has been a career employee at the Bank and has progressed through a series of key leadership roles. Additionally, this change is consistent with National’s succession plan and DBRS Morningstar does not expect it to alter the Bank’s strategic objectives.”

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