Laurentian Bank of Canada named Rania Llewellyn as its new chief executive officer, making her the first woman to lead a major Canadian bank.
Llewellyn is joining Montreal-based Laurentian after 26 years at Bank of Nova Scotia, where she was most recently executive vice president for global business payments, according to a statement Tuesday. The hiring of Llewellyn, who will also join Laurentian’s board, comes a little more than a month after Jane Fraser was named CEO of Citigroup Inc., which will make her the first female head of a big Wall Street bank.
Llewellyn fills the gap left by Francois Desjardins, who stepped down in June after a five-year tenure that included an incomplete transformation plan, mortgage mishaps due to documentation issues and client misrepresentations as well as a dividend cut prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Stephane Therrien, the bank’s executive vice president of personal and commercial banking, served as president and CEO in the interim.
“Rania Llewellyn is the right leader to usher in a new era at Laurentian Bank,” Michelle Savoy, a board member who headed the special committee that ran the CEO search, said in the statement. “She has a proven track record as an energetic, strategic thinker focused on customer experience and tangible results.”
While women have held some high-profile positions in Canada’s banking industry, Llewellyn will be the first female CEO of a major domestic bank. London-based HSBC Holdings Plc’s Canadian operations are now run by Linda Seymour. She succeeded Sandra Stuart, who ran the operation for five years until her retirement. And Gillian Riley serves as CEO of Tangerine, Scotiabank’s online division.
Llewellyn joined Scotiabank as a part-time teller and worked her way through a variety of positions, including vice president for multicultural banking, president and CEO of Roynat Capital and senior vice president for commercial banking and growth strategy. She was born in Kuwait to an Egyptian father and a Jordanian mother and immigrated to Canada from Egypt in 1992, after the Gulf War.
— With assistance by Doug Alexander
(Updates with background on previous CEO in third paragraph.)