William Downe, C.M.
Immediate and Past Chief Executive Officer, BMO Financial Group
William Downe was Chief Executive Officer of BMO Financial Group from March 2007 until October 31, 2017.
Mr. 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.
Mr. Downe is lead director of ManpowerGroup Inc. and a member of their Executive Compensation and Human Resources Committee. He is a member of Rush System Board, a member of the Rush University Medical Center Board of Trustees, a member of their Development and Compensation and Human Resources Committees, and co-chair of the Rush Campaign Executive Committee. Mr. Downe 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. Mr. Downe also serves on the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs’ North American Free Trade Agreement Council.
Mr. Downe is an honorary director of Catalyst Inc., a past member of their Audit Committee and was Chair of Catalyst’s Canadian Advisory Board. He served on the board of the Business Council of Canada as well as their Governance and Nominating Committee. Mr. Downe served on the board of the International Monetary Conference (IMC) and was a member of their Nominating Committee. 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 is a member of the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation Board, a member of its Executive Committee, and past member of the Inspire 2018 Campaign Cabinet. He is also a member of the campaign executive for The Campaign for the University of Toronto. Mr. 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.
Mr. Downe holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and 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. He was recognized in September 2016 by the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Canada Institute and received the Center's Award for Corporate Citizenship. 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.
Mr. Downe is a Member of the Order of Canada.