08/30/2012 04:41 EDT | Updated 10/30/2012 05:12 EDT

Canadian Western Bank appoints new president and chief operating officer

EDMONTON - Canadian Western Bank (TSX:CWB) has appointed long-time employee Chris Fowler as the new president and chief operating officer of the Edmonton-based bank.

Larry Pollock, the bank's current long-serving chief executive head will maintain the title of CEO until he steps down next March 7, the bank said in a news release on Thursday.

"Our board's recognition of the exceptional performance and depth of CWB's current executive team was a defining factor in our decision to select leadership succession from within the company," said Allan Jackson, board chairman.

"Over the course of more than 21 years with CWB, Chris has contributed greatly to the success of our proven business model, while also demonstrating the attributes and decision-making capabilities we believe are necessary to effectively lead our group of companies in the next phase of development and growth," Jackson said.

Fowler, 52, joined CWB in 1991 and held senior positions. In his role as chief operating officer, he is primarily responsible for banking operations and credit risk management.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Andre-Philippe Hardy said Fowler's appointment was expected.

"We believe that the retirement of Mr. Pollock was expected by investors, and that Mr. Fowler was viewed as the front-runner to take over as CEO and as such do not believe this announcement will surprise investors," Hardy wrote in a research note.

On Wednesday, Canadian Western Bank reported record third-quarter earnings, up 24 per cent, driven by strong loan growth.

Net income available to shareholders rose to $48 million from $38.8 million in the year-earlier quarter. Revenues rose to $138.2 million, up 13 per cent from 122.8 million a year earlier largely due to a three per cent rise in lending.

Canadian Western Bank offers business and personal banking services across the four western provinces and is the largest publicly traded Canadian bank headquartered in Western Canada.