January 11, 2007 16:22 ET

Louis Vachon to become President and Chief Executive Officer of National Bank on June 1, 2007

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 11, 2007) - Mr. Jean Douville, Chairman of the Board of National Bank (TSX:NA), announced today that Mr. Louis Vachon, 44, will become President and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, effective June 1, 2007.

Mr. Vachon has been Chief Operating Officer of National Bank since July 2006 and a member of the Board of Directors since that date. His appointment as President and Chief Executive Officer was announced today following a meeting of the Board of Directors.

The appointment follows the personal decision of Mr. Real Raymond, 56, President and Chief Executive Officer since 2002 and an employee of National Bank for the last 37 years, to retire on June 1 after a highly successful career. Mr. Raymond will remain a Director until May 31, after which he will serve as a Special Advisor to the Bank on a part-time basis for the following 12 months.

Mr. Douville indicated that the transition of executive power is in line with the Bank's succession plan, developed as part of the ongoing planning process of the Board of Directors. He expressed his satisfaction that once again, National Bank has been able to provide for the orderly and harmonious succession of its Chief Executive Officer, from within its own ranks.

"In his various positions with the Bank, Mr. Vachon has demonstrated both strategic vision and an ability to mobilize resources to attain his objectives, " said Mr. Douville. " We are highly confident that he will lead the Bank to new heights. At the same time, the Board applauds Real Raymond's outstanding performance as leader of this institution and we extend our sincere gratitude to him for the major contributions he has made to the success of National Bank."

Louis Vachon has held senior management positions with the Bank during 15 years. Prior to accepting the role as Chief Operating Officer, he was Chairman and Chef Executive Officer of the Board of National Bank Financial Group. He was previously Senior Vice-President, Treasury and Financial Markets. From 1986 to 1990, he worked at Levesque Beaubien, which later became National Bank Financial.

"I am pleased to have a few months to plan for taking office as CEO, " said Mr. Vachon, "and that I will continue to benefit from a close working relationship with Real Raymond, even after he has turned over the reins of the business to me. He leaves behind a great legacy."

"National Bank is one of Canada's great financial institutions and the first bank in Quebec," he added. " With the cooperation and assistance of all our employees, I will work for the best interests of our shareholders and do all that I can to demonstrate to the Board of Directors that their confidence in me is well-placed."

"To this end, " added Mr. Vachon, " we will continue to put the emphasis on quality of service to our customers at all levels and on the development of innovative new products. I see my role as one of supporting our teams in the effective execution of our vision and our strategies."

Mr. Raymond's mandate has been characterized by constant success, having achieved the objectives of every annual business plan, from client satisfaction levels to the mobilisation of employees and shareholders returns. For the third consecutive year, the Bank ranked among Canada's 50 best employers, one of the few banks that achieved that level of performance.

Under Mr. Raymond's leadership, the Bank also exceeded all of its financial objectives. From 2001 to the year-ending October 31, 2006, National Bank's total assets grew from $75.76 billion to $116.9 billion. Net income rose from $563 million to $871 million. Return on shareholder equity rose to 20.1% as of the quarter ending October 31, 2006 from 16% at yearend 2001, comparable to other Canadian banks. The price of the bank's shares more than doubled from $24.95 as of October 31, 2001 to $64.16 per share in recent days. Dividends also more than doubled from $0.82 per share in 2001 to $2.16 per share at the end of fiscal 2006. The stock market capitalisation of the Bank rose by 131% over the five-year period, from $4.5 billion in late 2001 to $10.4 billion today.

Real Raymond positioned National Bank as a super-regional bank, excelling in everything it does in its primary market, from individual banking and wealth management to commercial banking and capital markets. The expansion of the bank's business outside Quebec has been focused on high-return niche markets of the future.

"I am extremely proud of my management team who contributed so much to the success of National Bank during the course of my mandate, " said Mr. Raymond. "I am sure that under the leadership of Louis Vachon, this team will continue to develop and be highly successful."

Photos of Mr. Raymond and Mr. Vachon are available on request. Please contact the undersigned for an electronic copy.

About National Bank

National Bank is an integrated group which provides comprehensive financial services to consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations in its core market, while offering specialized services to its clients elsewhere in the world. National Bank offers a full array of banking services, including retail, corporate and investment banking. It is an active player on international capital markets and, through its subsidiaries, is involved in securities brokerage, insurance and wealth management as well as mutual fund and retirement plan management. National Bank has more than $116 billion in assets and, together with its subsidiaries, employs 16,972 people. The Bank's securities are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (NA:TSX). For more information, visit the Bank's website at

The telephone number provided below is for the exclusive use of journalists and other media representatives.

A Biography of Mr. Real Raymond is available at the following address:

A Biography of Mr. Louis Vachon is available at the following address:

Contact Information

  • National Bank of Canada
    Denis Dube
    Director - Public Relations