Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir
The delays of the transformation plan appear to have been due to the president and ceo, François Desjardins.
The delays of the plan for the transformation of the Laurentian Bank seem to have been due to the president and ceo, François Desjardins, who leaves abruptly, to the retirement, at the age of 49 years.
A special committee has already been formed to find a successor to him who will leave at the end of the month, reported the financial institution based in Montreal, Monday. The executive vice president of business services and personal and executive officer of BLC financial services, Stéphane Therrien, will assume the interim. The two men were not available for interviews Monday.
“Laurentian announced, surprisingly [the departure of Mr. Desjardins] pointed out in a note the analyst Darko Mihelic, RBC capital Markets. [This is fast] in view of the level of economic uncertainty and volatility. “
At the head of the seventh bank in the country since November 2015, Mr. Desjardins, who will resign also from its role as administrator, has seen its mandate to become turbulent after having presented a transformation plan which included the end of counter services for the benefit of the consulting services.
When he had unveiled his plan in September 2016, the lender operated some 150 branches. Towards the end of the year, its network will grow to sixty. The only bank syndicated across the country have had relations quite strained with its workers, under the leadership of Mr. Desjardins. Negotiations to renew the contract of employment of unionized workers have been rather acrimonious.
The title of the Laurentian has also been troubled by a case of mortgage loans issues two years ago, which gave some trouble to Mr. Desjardins and his team. A request for collective action accusing the management for taking too long before advising the investors coming from elsewhere to be filed with the superior Court of Quebec.
Finally, in addition to having seen its profits dip in the second quarter, where its provisions for credit losses jumped due to the pandemic of COVID-19, the Laurentian has made a decision, at the end of may, which had not been seen for almost three decades in the financial sector : cuts its dividend.
By way of a press release, the chairman of the board of directors, Michael Muller, stressed the contribution of Mr. Desjardins and limit themselves to wish him “good luck” in his ” future projects “.
“Despite recent difficulties due to the pandemic, the bank remains in a strong position to meet the challenges, he said. The current implementation of the transformation strategy of the bank is well advanced and there is an opportunity to generate growth. “
This reduction in the quarterly dividend per share is of the order of 40 %, which will increase from 67 cents to 40 cents. Some financial analysts have suggested that this might even be low.
On the Toronto stock Exchange, the action of the Laurentian was publicly traded under the $ 30 on Monday. When Mr. Desjardins arrived in the post, the stock is trading around $52.