Russell Goldsmith: Stepping to the Top Rung

Russell Goldsmith: Stepping to the Top Rung
City National Bank Chairman & CEO Russell Goldsmith discusses the $5.4-billion merger with Royal Bank of Canada and his advocacy for Los Angeles’ civic and cultural strengths

by Whitney Vendt

Q2 2015 CEOs, Finance, Real Estate & Finance, The C-Suite
Photo by Dennis Roy Coronel
Last summer, Russell Goldsmith received a follow-up phone call from Dave McKay of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC). McKay wanted to know: Would Goldsmith be interested in meeting for dinner in San Francisco to resume their discussion about a possible merger? The two CEOs met previously in 2013 in Beverly Hills where McKay, then RBC’s Group Head of Personal & Commercial Banking, first pitched the concept, outlining why he thought the two institutions would coalesce nicely.

“I told him then, ‘That’s very nice, but we’re not for sale,’” Goldsmith recalls. “City National has never been for sale. But I have a very simple policy, as the CEO of a public company, that if somebody with a reputable, solid firm says they’d like to meet, I am obligated to at least have the meeting.” This open mindset and willingness to listen turned out to be a harbinger of things to come.

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