Media Releases

Rotman Lifetime Achievement Award Presented to BMO’s William Downe

October 18, 2017

Toron­to, ON – William Downe, a grad­u­ate of the MBA pro­gram at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s Rot­man School of Man­age­ment, will be hon­oured today at the Rot­man Alum­ni Awards Din­ner with a Life­time Achieve­ment Award. Downe is Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer of BMO Finan­cial Group.

He receives the award in recog­ni­tion of his out­stand­ing com­mit­ment to enhanc­ing diver­si­ty and inclu­sion in cor­po­rate Cana­da, his stead­fast sup­port of edu­ca­tion and health­care, and his lead­er­ship of Canada’s first bank and bold expan­sion of its U.S. pres­ence.

“Bill Downe is an inspir­ing leader whose sup­port of research and edu­ca­tion is an incred­i­ble asset not only to the Rot­man School and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, but also to Cana­di­an soci­ety,” says Tiff Mack­lem, Dean of the Rot­man School.

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 Arts 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.

Speak­ers at the Awards Din­ner will include John Cas­sa­day, Cor­po­rate Direc­tor and Found­ing CEO of Corus Enter­tain­ment, Deb­o­rah Gillis, Pres­i­dent & CEO, Cat­a­lyst, Rose Pat­ten, adjunct pro­fes­sor and Spe­cial Advi­sor, BMO Finan­cial Group, Robert Prichard, Chair­man, Torys LLP, John Tory, May­or of Toron­to, and Mark Wise­man, Glob­al Head of Active Equi­ties & Chair­man, Black­Rock Alter­na­tive Investors. Tiff Mack­lem, Dean, Rot­man School of Man­age­ment, will host the evening. Richard Nes­bitt adjunct pro­fes­sor and Pres­i­dent & CEO of the Glob­al Risk Insti­tute and Joan­na Roten­berg, Group Head, BMO Wealth Man­age­ment, are emcees for the evening.

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 black-tie gala kicks off the Reunite@Rotman home­com­ing week­end, bring­ing togeth­er the School’s glob­al alum­ni com­mu­ni­ty.

Reunite@Rotman is the School’s pre­miere alum­ni event and runs Octo­ber 20 to 21. For more infor­ma­tion on the Rot­man Alum­ni Awards Din­ner or to reg­is­ter for the home­com­ing week­end, vis­it

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


For more infor­ma­tion:

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