BMO names Techar COO, says not a precursor to CEO change

(Reuters) - Bank of Montreal on Wednesday promoted Frank Techar to the newly created position of chief operating officer, with responsibility for three of the bank's four main business lines.

Bank of Montreal, Canada's No. 5 lender, said the move is not being undertaken to groom Techar to eventually step up to the bank's top job.

Techar, 57, currently heads BMO's Canadian retail banking operation. As chief operating officer, he will also assume responsibility for BMO Harris Bank, the bank's U.S. retail bank, and for BMO's wealth management operations. Techar will assume the new position effective November 1.

Gilles Ouelette and Mark Furlong, who head BMO's wealth and U.S. retail divisions, respectively, will keep their jobs, and will now report to Techar, the bank said.

BMO Capital Markets will remain a separate unit.

Such promotions at Canadian banks are often signal that a change at the chief executive level is in the offing.

Bank of Nova Scotia promoted longtime executive Brian Porter to the position of president last October, then said in May he would succeed Rick Waugh as CEO.

Toronto-Dominion Bank in April named U.S. retail bank head Bharat Masrani as COO and said he would take over as CEO in 2014.

BMO spokesman Paul Deegan said Techar's promotion is not a move to groom him to replace Bill Downe, 61, who has been CEO seen 2007.

"Bill has made a multi-year commitment to the board. He is not going anywhere," he said.

Shares of BMO were up 20 Canadian cents at C$70.43 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Cameron French; additional reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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