Personal Account: 25 Tales About Leadership, Learning, and Legacy from a Lifetime at Bank of Montreal

Personal Account: 25 Tales About Leadership, Learning, and Legacy from a Lifetime at Bank of Montreal


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After nearly four decades at Bank of Montreal, former President and CEO Tony Comper shares leadership lessons from his experience at the helm of one of the world’s largest financial institutions.

Anthony “Tony” Comper likes to say that he can sum up his remarkable career in Canadian banking in 25 stories. In a business often filled with big personalities and memorable characters, Tony’s motto is Festina Lente — make haste slowly.

In Personal Account: 25 Tales about Leadership, Learning, and Legacy from a Lifetime at Bank of Montreal, Comper chronicles how he guided the bank’s software evolution on real-time banking and the introduction of ABMs. He also saw BMO evolve from traditional lender to facilitator in the market, partnering with businesses to create a more vibrant source of capital. That innovation included Tony’s role in integrating women and new Canadians into BMO while fighting anti-Semitism in the community. He was also critical in creating new banking models for the Indigenous community.

A first-person analysis of the major transitions in his almost four decades at the bank. A memoir of turbulent, challenging times. An examination of surviving the most severe financial shocks without jeopardizing the nation’s financial stability.

Personal Account is equal parts warm memoir, teaching lesson, and a reminder of the value of legacy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781770415171
Publisher: ECW Press
Publication date: 11/03/2020
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Tony Comper, CM (Toronto, Ontario), began working at Bank of Montreal at age 16, launching a four decade-long career that culminated first with his tenure as the chief operating officer, and then as the bank’s chief executive officer from 1998–2006. Tony and his wife, Liz, were named members of the Order of Canada for their work with the FAST (Fighting Anti-Semitism Together) foundation. Bruce Dowbiggin’s (Calgary, Alberta) career has included successful stints in television, radio, theater, and print. His books include Money Players (a finalist for the 2004 National Business Book Award), The Defence Never Rests, The Stick, and Cap in Hand.

Table of Contents

Foreword Larry Tanenbaum OC ix

Chapter 1 Festina Lente: Make Haste Slowly 1

Chapter 2 In the Eye of the Storm: The Merger That Never Was 6

Chapter 3 First Contact: BMO in the Blood 17

Chapter 4 Choosing the Road Less Travelled 24

Chapter 5 The Catastrophizer 36

Chapter 6 Leadership Is Selling Your Ideas 45

Chapter 7 Change Is Hard: Success Can Take a Lifetime 58

Chapter 8 Centralized Corporations and the Cost of Complexity 67

Chapter 9 Listening Makes the World Go 'Round 74

Chapter 10 Hidden Treasure: Knowledge-Based Computing 84

Chapter 11 Follow Your Rabbits 92

Chapter 12 Tapping into All Our Talent: Women and Diversity in the Bank 103

Chapter 13 Riding the Tiger of Corporate Citizenship 113

Chapter 14 An Economic Imperative: Why Supporting Communities Benefits Everyone 121

Chapter 15 Rebranding a Legend 130

Chapter 16 Diversification: Andrew Jackson's Folly, Canada's Blessing 141

Chapter 17 Is Executive Compensation Out of Line? 149

Chapter 18 Globalization, or the Law of Comparative Advantage 157

Chapter 19 Crisis Management: Withstanding Storms Requires a Firm Will 165

Chapter 20 Algorithms and Aristotle: Recipe for Success 175

Chapter 21 BMO History: In the Footsteps of Greatness 184

Chapter 22 Matt Barrett: He Will Still Be the Indomitable Irishry 195

Chapter 23 The FAST Foundation: One Person Makes a Difference 202

Chapter 24 Elizabeth's Tale 211

Chapter 25 Signing Off: Fast Forward to Tomorrow 221

Acknowledgements 227

Index 231

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