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HomeNewsRBC Fires Female CFO Over Secret Relationship With Colleague

RBC Fires Female CFO Over Secret Relationship With Colleague

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Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) made headlines recently after firing its only female chief financial officer, Nadine Ahn, in a surprising turn of events. Ahn was fired from the bank after it was discovered that she hid a relationship with a colleague. This colleague, who had been said to have received promotions and salary hikes, seems to be linked to this hidden relationship.

Ahn’s job termination was announced on a Friday, as well as the individual involved with her in the relationship. We do not know who this other person is, but it’s clear that they both had the same fate.

In fiscal 2023, Ahn received a compensation package totaling $3 million USD, a 25 percent increase from the previous year. Also, when Ahn began that position in 2021, she was the only female CFO among Canada’s Big Six banks.

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RBC began investigations into this matter after some “allegations” against her had come forward. This was when it was clear that Ahn was violating the bank’s code of conduct. However, it was not clear by the investigation that she was involved with an individual and was giving them preferential treatment, including advancements in position and salary.

The bank then went on to begin a thorough internal review, even using legal experts. But despite how serious the situation was, RBC made it clear that the investigation found no evidence of financial misconduct beyond the breach of conduct.

Before she began being CFO, Ahn, who is in her early 50s, was the head of wholesale finance investor relations at RBC. She had been with this bank since 1999, where she held different financial positions before she eventually became the CFO.

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According to the bank’s official annual statement to investors, executives terminated for cause forfeit severance pay and may lose out on other bonuses.

Katherine Gibson has stepped in as the interim CFO while the bank searches for a permanent replacement. Gibson has two decades of experience at RBC and was recently given the Senior Vice President, Finance and controller position. She was in charge of overseeing board reporting and managing the bank’s financial systems and policies.

Interestingly, the case of Nadine Ahn shows us something about gender dynamics in corporate dismissals. While it’s not so common for powerful female executives to lose their jobs over hidden relationships, the same cannot be said for their male colleagues.

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Just last year, BP CEO Bernard Looney had a similar experience of failing to disclose personal relationships with employees. BP managed to regain a substantial portion of Looney’s salary, around $40 million after it was revealed that he had misleading affairs about some of his personal relationships with colleagues and subordinates.

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