Media Releases

Chair Established at University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management in Honour of BMO’s William Downe

November 1, 2017

Toron­to, ON – A new chair has been estab­lished in hon­our of William Downe, a grad­u­ate of the MBA pro­gram at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s Rot­man School of Man­age­ment. The chair was announced at the Rot­man Alum­ni Awards Din­ner on Octo­ber 18 where Downe received a Life­time Achieve­ment Award. Downe is the for­mer Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer of BMO Finan­cial Group and received his MBA from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to in 1978.

The William A. Downe BMO Chair in Finance will be award­ed to a Rot­man School fac­ul­ty mem­ber lat­er in the year.

“As CEO of BMO, BiIl has been a tremen­dous part­ner of the Rot­man School and a strong advo­cate for man­age­ment edu­ca­tion. The rela­tion­ship between BMO and Rot­man is the gold stan­dard, span­ning stu­dents, research and phil­an­thropy. The Rot­man School is excep­tion­al­ly proud to hold a chair in Bill’s name,” says Tiff Mack­lem, Dean of the Rot­man School.

“Bill Downe is a glob­al­ly respect­ed banker who served BMO Finan­cial Group with great dis­tinc­tion for 34 years. This chair that bears his name and ours will advance in per­pe­tu­ity Rotman’s out­stand­ing work in finance edu­ca­tion and research and stand in tes­ti­mo­ny to Bill’s remark­able career,” says J. Robert S. Prichard, Pres­i­dent Emer­i­tus of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to and Chair­man of BMO Finan­cial Group.

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 and 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. He was appoint­ed CEO on March 1, 2007.

Downe is a direc­tor of Man­pow­er­Group Inc., Cat­a­lyst Inc., the Busi­ness Coun­cil of Cana­da and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Rush Uni­ver­si­ty Med­ical Cen­ter. He is an advi­so­ry board mem­ber of the Rot­man School of Man­age­ment Mar­tin Pros­per­i­ty Insti­tute (MPI) at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, and a mem­ber of the Eco­nom­ic Club of Chica­go. He served on the board of the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Con­fer­ence (IMC) as well as 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.

Downe is a mem­ber of the St. Michael’s Hos­pi­tal Foun­da­tion Board, a mem­ber of the Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee, and a mem­ber of the Cam­paign Cab­i­net. He is also a mem­ber of the cam­paign exec­u­tive for The Cam­paign for the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to. Downe served as Chair­man of the 2009 Cam­paign Cab­i­net for Unit­ed Way of Greater Toron­to, and is also past Chair of the Board of Direc­tors of St. Michael’s Hos­pi­tal.

Downe holds a Bach­e­lor of Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion degree from Wil­frid Lau­ri­er Uni­ver­si­ty and a Mas­ter of Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to. He has also received an Hon­orary Doc­tor of Laws from the Lazaridis School of Busi­ness and Eco­nom­ics at Wil­frid Lau­ri­er Uni­ver­si­ty. Downe was appoint­ed as a Mem­ber of the Order of Cana­da and was rec­og­nized by the Woodrow Wil­son Center’s Cana­da Insti­tute, receiv­ing the Award for Cor­po­rate Cit­i­zen­ship.

The Rot­man Life­time Achieve­ment Award was estab­lished last year by the Rot­man School and is pre­sent­ed at the Rot­man Alum­ni Awards Din­ner, an annu­al cel­e­bra­tion estab­lished to pay trib­ute to excep­tion­al alum­ni who have con­tributed sig­nif­i­cant­ly to their orga­ni­za­tions and com­mu­ni­ties.

The Rot­man School of Man­age­ment is locat­ed in the heart of Canada’s com­mer­cial and cul­tur­al cap­i­tal and is part of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, one of the world’s top 20 research uni­ver­si­ties. The Rot­man School fos­ters a new way to think that enables our grad­u­ates to tack­le today’s glob­al busi­ness and soci­etal chal­lenges.  For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it


Ken McGuf­fin
Man­ag­er, Media Rela­tions
Rot­man School of Man­age­ment
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to
Tel: 416–946-3818