Downtown-based City National Bank announced a transition at the very top of the institution’s hierarchy last week, with long-time Chief Executive Russell Goldsmith set to step down Feb. 1 from that leadership post.
Goldsmith, who has been at City National’s helm for 23 years, will continue to serve as chairman and will be succeeded as chief executive by JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Kelly Coffey.
“I feel really great about this,” Goldsmith said. “I get to stay involved and give up some day-to-day responsibilities and yet be involved ... in larger strategic issues.”
Goldsmith added that Coffey “is at the stage of her career where she will be CEO of City National Bank for a very long time. She has a fabulous management style, and her values fit in superbly and are in sync with our clients.”
Coffey was the chief executive officer of JPMorgan’s U.S. Private Bank, one of the largest private wealth management businesses in the nation.
Coffey, 53, has led the JPMorgan business since 2015 and is responsible for a team of 3,000 people in 34 communities across the United States.
During a 30-year career at JPMorgan and its predecessor, Morgan Guaranty, Coffey held a series of leadership positions in corporate finance, and mergers and acquisitions, equity markets, investment banking and private banking.
Coffey will be City National’s fourth chief executive in its 65-year history.
City National was purchased by Toronto-based Royal Bank of Canada in 2015 and operates as a subsidiary.
Goldsmith, 68, succeeded his father, Bram, who, as chairman and chief executive, pushed the Beverly Hills bank to more than $1 billion in assets by the late 1970s, and ensconced the institution’s reputation as one of the go-to banks for Hollywood.
Russell Goldsmith joined the company’s board of directors in 1978 and was named chairman and chief executive in 1995. Since then, City National has expanded from 16 offices in Southern California to 72 offices in six states plus Washington, D.C. Its assets have grown from $3 billion in the mid-1990s to nearly $50 billion today.
The bank now employs more than 4,800 and oversees client investment assets of $67 billion. It has been profitable in every quarter for 23 consecutive years – even during the Great Recession when many banks went out of business or were bought out by healthier ones.
Goldsmith said City National has plans to open six or seven new offices over the next 18 months and has added already more than 1,000 new employees since the RBC takeover.
City National’s roots extend to 1954, when a small group of Beverly Hills entrepreneurs, led by businessman and Columbia Pictures board member Al Hart, saw a need for a bank catering to the entertainment community, and small and medium-sized businesses. The bank is coming up on its 65th anniversary in January.
Bram Goldsmith, who passed away at 93 on Feb. 28, 2016, succeeded Hart in 1975.
In addition to becoming a member of its board of directors, Coffey will chair both the bank’s strategy and planning committee, and its executive committee. Among those who will report to Coffey are bank President Chris Warmuth, and Chief Financial Officer Chris Carey.
Coffey, who was named by trade publication American Banker as one of the top 15 most powerful women bankers in America, also will join the senior management committee of RBC Wealth Management-U.S. and the business executive committee of RBC’s Intermediate Holding Co. in the United States.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my time at JPMorgan or more excited about my future at City National,” said Coffey in a statement.
Russell Goldsmith will continue to play an active leadership role at City National, both as chairman and as a member of the bank’s strategy, and planning and executive committees.
In addition to his role as chairman of City National, Goldsmith will remain chairman of RBC Wealth Management-U.S. and will continue to chair the executive committee of RBC’s Intermediate Holding Co. in the United States. Coffey will report to Goldsmith.
Michael Armstrong, the chief executive of RBC Wealth Management-U.S., continues to report to Goldsmith.
Going forward, Goldsmith is confident in the bank’s growth strategy.
“We’ll continue to see in 2019 a reasonable pace and growing economy, with some headwinds with interest rates rising and saber-rattling with trade winds in China,” he said.
Goldsmith added that, while the 43-year run is over for him and his father as successive City National chief executives, he isn’t going away any time soon.
“There will still be a Goldsmith here.”
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