Kathleen Taylor appointed new Royal Bank of Canada chair

Posted Aug 31, 2013 by Michael Thomas
In a historic first, Kathleen Taylor has become the head of the board for the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), making her the first woman to head a major chartered bank in Canada.
Kathleen Taylor  CEO  speaking at the opening of the Toronto s new Four Seasons Hotel
Kathleen Taylor, CEO, speaking at the opening of the Toronto's new Four Seasons Hotel
Digital Journal
Taylor was the CEO of the Four Seasons hotel chain for three years, ending in February of 2013 with no reason given for her departure.
She has been a director on RBC's board since 2001. She has largely been involved with audit and risk committees, and began heading the bank's human resources committee since 2010.
Taylor will replace David O'Brien, who is retiring as chair at the end of the year.
"It's been an honour to serve our shareholders with the support of an engaged board, outstanding management team and talented group of employees globally," O'Brien said in a statement.
“Katie has been an outstanding director and will provide great leadership to our board,” said RBC CEO Gordon Nixon. “We are very proud to have the first female chair of a major bank.”
From Left to Right: Alan Menkes  Kathleen Taylor  Isadore Sharp
From Left to Right: Alan Menkes, Kathleen Taylor, Isadore Sharp
Digital Journal
Taylor's appointment comes at a time when there are very few women in the higher tiers of companies. According to a report by advocacy group Catalyst Canada in 2011, women only fill 10 percent of the seats of Canadian public-company boardrooms.
That being said, women are starting to increase their presence in big business, making up about one-third of the directors of Big Five companies.
Though Taylor's appointment is a big chip at the glass ceiling, there is still much progress to be made.
“The dial hasn’t moved significantly in terms of women on boards,” said Jennifer Reynolds, president of Women in Capital Markets. “It’s one board. We need to see changes on many more boards.”