- The Bank of Montreal has hired Citi’s global head of climate risk to serve as its next chief risk officer (CRO), the Canadian bank said Wednesday in a press release.
- Piyush Agrawal — who is CRO for Citibank NA, in addition to his climate role — will join BMO as deputy CRO on July 1, then ascend to CRO on Nov. 1, the bank said.
- Agrawal will replace Patrick Cronin, who is retiring after nearly 30 years at BMO. Cronin will stay on throughout the transition period.
Agrawal has served at Citi since 2002, in various capacities, including chief operating officer of Citibank NA, CRO for the Asia-Pacific region and head of corporate strategy.
"I have been particularly impressed by [Agrawal’s] business acumen, customer focus, regulatory experience, along with his deep risk management capabilities and expertise on [environmental, social and governance] and climate topics,” BMO CEO Darryl White said in Wednesday’s press release. His reputation for personal curiosity and lifelong learning, as well as developing high performing teams, precedes him. These behaviours are essential to a strong risk function and are at the core of BMO's culture."
Cronin, meanwhile, has served as BMO’s CRO since 2018 — the last of an array of leadership roles at the Canadian bank that included chief operating officer, CEO and group head at BMO Capital Markets.
"Throughout his career, Pat has made a significant impact across our bank," White said. "He expertly steered our COVID-19 response and our risk function through the pandemic and the complex credit and market environment that has defined the past 24 months.”
Agrawal is hardly the first C-suite executive BMO has poached from a U.S. bank. The bank hired Tayfun Tazun away from Fifth Third in November 2020 to serve as the Canadian bank’s CFO.
In Agrawal, Citi loses a climate expert at a time of increased focus on ESG initiatives at banks. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted last month to issue two proposals: one governing how ESG funds can be labeled and another requiring ESG funds to disclose how they measure progress.
The second would require funds that consider ESG in their investment processes to disclose how they measure progress toward that goal.
The SEC, days earlier, imposed a first-of-its-kind penalty on a BNY Mellon — a $1.5 million fine for misstating the ESG credentials of some mutual funds.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) in December became the first federal banking regulator in the U.S. to lay out its expectations in writing for how banks with more than $100 billion in assets should manage climate risk.
BMO also is not the only bank to see transition this year at the CRO level. Wells Fargo CRO Amanda Norton in January announced her retirement, which becomes effective this month. The bank named Derek Flowers, a 24-year veteran of the company, to replace Norton.