Good Governance Represents a Competitive Advantage

David A. Galloway
Chairman of the Board

Our practices continue to evolve

Recent events have caused financial institutions everywhere to reconsider the way they operate.

Our customers and their relationships with money have changed also – as they, too, adjust to the current reality.

As directors of Bank of Montreal, responsible for the oversight of a large, complex organization, we are keenly aware that good governance represents a competitive advantage. The banks that emerged from the financial crisis in good shape were those with the best controls in place, and the discipline to adhere to them. Canadian banks fared better than most. It is not a coincidence that Canadian banks are recognized for the quality of their governance, and we are proud that BMO ranks among the top companies in Canada for governance.

Achieving good governance, however, is not a fixed target. It is forever moving, steadily improving. At BMO, we strive constantly for board renewal – new ideas, new approaches, new points of view.

Since I was named Chairman of the Board in 2004, more than one-third of the faces on the board have changed. This is in line with our desire to have the right blend of experience and knowledge, tempered with fresh perspective. This year, in the spirit of renewal, we have introduced term limits for board membership. Once phased in, BMO directors will be limited to 15 years of service, or until their 70th birthday, whichever comes first.

The right blend of experience and knowledge.

After 24 years of service, Jeremy Reitman leaves the board this year, as does Nancy Southern, who has served shareholders for 15 years. On behalf of shareholders, I thank them for their invaluable contributions to the company over their years of service. We will miss their insight and guidance. We were pleased to announce the appointment of Christine Edwards of Chicago to the board in August 2010.

Finally, I want to offer our thanks to management and all employees for delivering strong financial results in the past year. The bank has grown, both within our traditional markets as well as in markets that will be of increasing importance to us. The incorporation of BMO ChinaCo, for example, was an important strategic milestone for the company. I also want to recognize our employees’ contribution to important initiatives – the kind that are never reflected adequately in the bottom line. Under Bill Downe’s leadership, bank employees, enterprise-wide, supported their communities in record manner, donating time and money to the United Way. They also embraced the bank’s environmental goals and helped us, during the course of the year, achieve carbon neutrality relative to energy consumption and transportation emissions.

Signature: David A. Galloway

David A. Galloway
Chairman of the Board