William Downe

Cape Breton University is delighted to honour and recognize the contribution, the ambitious career, and the life-long dedication to the Canadian financial landscape of Mr. William Downe.

Mr. Downe, a Member of the Order of Canada, joined Bank of Montreal in 1983 and had held a variety of senior management positions in Canada and the United States. In 1999, he was appointed Vice-Chair, Bank of Montreal. In 2001, he was named Deputy Chair, BMO Financial Group & Chief Executive Officer, BMO Nesbitt Burns. In 2006, he was appointed Chief Operating Officer of BMO Financial Group.

Mr. Downe holds a number of leadership and advisory roles in post-secondary education as well as federal government roles including the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs’ North American Free Trade Agreement Council.

He was Vice-Chair, Business and Finance, on the National Executive Committee of the 2015 Governor General Canadian Leadership Conference and is Past President of the Federal Reserve Board’s Federal Advisory Council.

Mr. Downe holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Toronto and also received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University.

In October 2017, Mr. Downe was honoured with the Rotman Lifetime Achievement Award by the University of Toronto. Prior to this, he received the Rotman Distinguished Business Alumni Award from the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management.