Downe joined Bank of Montreal in 1983 and held a variety of senior management positions in Canada and the U.S. In 1999, he was appointed vice-chair, Bank of Montreal. From 2001 to 2006, he was deputy chair of BMO Financial Group and chief executive officer of the investment and wealth management division BMO Nesbitt Burns. In February 2006, Downe was named chief operating officer and was chosen to replace Tony Comper as president and chief executive officer of BMO effective March 1, 2007, the day of BMO's annual general meeting.
Downe is the only Canadian member of the International Business Leaders Advisory Council of the Mayor of Beijing, and he is a member of the International Advisory Council of Guanghua School of Management at Peking University. He is a director of Catalyst, and a member of Catalyst’s Canadian Board of Advisors. Mr. Downe is also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and Past President of the Federal Reserve Board's Federal Advisory Council.
Downe served as Chairman of the 2009 Campaign Cabinet for United Way of Greater Toronto. He is a member of the Rotman School of Management Campaign Cabinet, and he sits on the board of Toronto’s St. Michael's Hospital Foundation. He is also past Chair of the Board of Directors of St. Michael's Hospital.
Downe has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Toronto. In 2003, he received the Rotman Distinguished Business Alumni Award from the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management.
- "Executive Profile - William A. Downe". Businessweek. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- Tony Comper to Retire as President and CEO of BMO Financial Group; Board Appoints Bill Downe as His Successor
- The Toronto Star: Uphill battle for next BMO boss Nov. 29, 2006
- CBC News: BMO's Tony Comper to retire in March
- National Post: Downe steers BMO from laggard to top bank
- The Globe and Mail: BMO boss launches charity blitz
- "William Downe at a glance". Forbes. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
- "Speaker Profile William Downe". The Economic Club of Canada. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
|CEO of Bank of Montreal
March 1, 2007-present
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