10/30/2014 07:30 EDT | Updated 12/31/2014 05:59 EST

TD Bank CEO Ed Clark: I'm Paid Too Much, So I Give Back


Asked if bank chief executives are paid too much, Toronto-Dominion Bank CEO Ed Clark answers with an unhesitating "yes."

The man who led Canada Trust before stepping in to run the whole bank in 2002 has his last day on the job Friday.

In an interview with The Exchange with Amanda Lang, he admits he hasn’t found a way to handle the problem of the wide spread between average incomes and executive pay at the bank.

“If you said if I could remake the world would I have a narrower income distribution, I would,” he said. “And as you know,  I’d love to try to figure out how to do that singlehandedly, but you can't, because if I do it for myself do I do it for the next level? At what point are you no longer paying market rates?”

Clark’s answer has been a personal solution — give the money to “people who need it more than you do.”

In his leadership at TD, Clark has been noted for his stand embracing LGBT issues, both in public and within the bank.

He’s also the driving force behind Egale, a crisis counselling centre for the homeless LGBT community in downtown Toronto. Clark said he was shocked to find out so many street kids were LGBT.

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Clark wants to spend more time working with his charitable trust after he leaves TD.

He also reflected on his time at the bank, which grew under his leadership to be the second-largest bank in Canada, challenging the Royal for top spot.

Clark said he is proudest of the culture he created within Canada Trust and later TD, with a focus on customer service that led to longer banking hours.

“My leadership style is not to tell but is to try to inspire — to try to activate. But in this particular strategy you have to get out and mobilize 85,000 people in our case and say do you believe?” Clark said.

“Do you believe that the most important thing is that the customer comes away saying ‘Wow that was a different experience!’ It’s incredible how much energy and power is out there on the front lines if they think you are a true believer too.”