TD CEO Clark says departure not imminent, targets NYC

Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:23pm EDT
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By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto-Dominion Bank's (TD.TO: Quote) long-serving chief executive, Ed Clark, told shareholders on Thursday he is nearing the end of his tenure, but said his departure is not imminent.

Clark, who took the reins in late 2002 and has since turned the Toronto-based bank into a major U.S. lender, is the second longest-serving CEO among Canada's top five banks, trailing only Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO: Quote) CEO Gordon Nixon.

"While I am in the final years of my tenure as CEO, I am in no hurry to leave," he said in New York on Thursday.

He told reporters after the meeting that he plans to stay in his job for at least two more years. His current contract will move to an open-ended employment agreement after April 2013.

Speaking in Toronto, TD Chairman Brian Levitt said the board was confident that Clark's eventual successor will be an internal candidate.

That would suggest the next CEO could be either Tim Hockey, currently TD's group head of Canadian banking, auto finance and credit cards, or Bharat Masrani, group head of U.S. personal and commercial banking.

"They would be the two frontrunners, no question," said Robert Sedran, an analyst at CIBC World Markets.

His successor will have big shoes to fill, as Clark was named one of the world's top 30 CEOs by Barron's this week.   Continued...

Toronto-Dominion Bank Group President and Chief Executive Ed Clark delivers a speech at the company's annual general meeting in Victoria, British Columbia March 31, 2011. REUTERS/Ben Nelms