Corner Office Shifts: Laurentian Bank’s new CEO

Plus, Ferrero gets new Canadian leadership, and Lacoste VP gets bumped to CEO.

Rania Llewellyn becomes first woman to lead major Canadian-owned bank

On Oct. 30, Rania Llewellyn became CEO of The Laurentian Bank of Canada.

Her appointment signals a shift for the Montreal-based bank – the country’s seventh-largest domestic financial institution – whose previous chief executive, François Desjardins, stepped down in June before the end of a seven-year turnaround plan.

Unlike Laurentian’s previous two CEOs, who were promoted internally, Llewellyn arrives from Scotiabank, where she spent the last 26 years. The Globe and Mail notes she’s also the first non-francophone to lead the bank (which is concentrated in Quebec) since the Second World War. Rather, she’s an immigrant from the Middle East who speaks English and Arabic and who is known for prioritizing diversity in the workplace.

While in Global Business Payments at Scotiabank, her leadership led to improved customer experiences, innovative products and stronger business results. She was also head of the Diversity and Inclusion Office for Global Banking and Markets and was a member of the bank’s Executive All Bank Inclusion Council.

While she is the first woman to lead a Canadian-owned bank, other women have helped break that ceiling in the banking world. Among others, Sandra Stuart was CEO of HSBC Canada for five years (and was recently succeeded by Linda Seymour) and Gillian Riley is CEO of Scotiabank’s digital-only subsidiary Tangerine.

Ferrero appoints new Canadian president

The global confectionery leader has named Alessandro Natola president of its Canadian division. He replaces Rudy Sequeira, who is taking on an international assignment, and will report to North American CEO Paul Chibe.

In his new role, Natola has been tasked with continuing “the region’s strategic focus on driving innovation in new categories, channel growth, and market leadership.”

Natola was previously managing director for Ferrero Scandinavia for four years, where he is credited with helping to grow the business by 40%. During a 13-year career with the company, he has held roles in strategic planning, brand marketing, business development and category and trade marketing across Europe.

Lacoste Canadian VP promoted to CEO

The apparel brand has promoted Grégoire Brasset, formerly Canadian VP, to the role of CEO of Lacoste in Canada and Central America.

Brasset has been with the retailer since July 2011 and became Vice President in May 2017.

His appointment follows other recent changes in Lacoste’s ranks. In May, the company named Robert Aldrich as CEO of the North American region and Pedro Zannoni as CEO of the Latin America region.