09/15/2014 11:34 EDT | Updated 11/15/2014 05:59 EST

New CIBC CEO announces reorganization of bank's senior executives

TORONTO - The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has announced a major reorganization of senior management, as incoming CEO Victor Dodig shuffled a number of roles and announced the exit of two executives.

Dodig officially took the leadership post on Monday and immediately began to craft his vision of the bank.

Changes include the departure of two longtime leaders at the bank, following on the heels of CEO Gerry McCaughey's surprise retirement nearly two years earlier than expected.

Chief operating officer Richard Nesbitt will leave CIBC immediately, accelerating his initial plan to retire in October 2015. Nesbitt was appointed chief operating officer in 2013 and joined CIBC in 2008 after serving as CEO of the TSX Group.

"He played a key role over the last six years in setting a strong foundation for CIBC's success and helped position the bank for sustainable growth going forward," Dodig said in a statement.

Dodig has also appointed Steve Geist to fill his former role as head of the wealth management division.

CIBC surprised outsiders when McCaughey announced this summer that he would be leaving the bank within two months, after assuring investors only a few weeks earlier that he would stay in the top job until April 2016, when he turned 60.

The dramatic shift of plans left an especially short amount of time for Dodig to transition into the head role.

In other changes, David Williamson will expand his responsibilities for the retail and business banking division to include CIBC's FirstCaribbean International Bank.

Tom Woods, senior executive vice-president and vice-chairman of CIBC, will retire from his position at the end of this year. He has spent 37 years with the bank with roles spanning from chief financial officer to chief risk officer.

Meanwhile, Harry Culham and Geoff Belsher have paired up to share the responsibilities as co-heads of wholesale banking.

CIBC (TSX:CM) has faced a number of challenges over the past year, including troubles with the performance of its Caribbean bank and losing an exclusivity agreement with Aeroplan for its Visa card to rival TD Bank (TSX:TD).

CIBC shares were down 12 cents to $106.89 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.