Jean Douville, chairman of UAP Inc., will be taking over as chairman of National Bank of Canada in a non-executive role.
He is replacing Andre Berard, who is stepping down as chairman after a 46-year career with the country’s sixth-largest bank.
The announcement was made at the bank’s annual shareholder meeting, where it was also revealed that the bank has no plans to follow other Canadian banks and expand into the United States, the chief executive said Wednesday.
“The United States is not in our growth plan,” Real Raymond said following the bank’s annual meeting. “We have enough room to grow in Canada.” Montreal-based National Bank made a decision about two years ago to consider itself a “super-regional bank,” concentrating its activities in Quebec, as opposed to trying to spread across the country, Raymond said.
However, he said the bank is still interested in snapping up bank branches in other provinces if other large banks consolidate and are required, for competitive reasons, to divest branches.
Raymond said the bank’s regional focus has not hurt its performance, saying the bank grew faster than its competitors in fiscal 2003 and in the first quarter of fiscal 2004, when it posted record results.
“Geographic concentration seems to work in our favour.”
The bank’s meeting lasted more than three hours and executives were grilled by minority shareholder activists on matters such as governance practices and compensation of directors.
Eleven resolutions they put forward and were opposed by the bank management were defeated.
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