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RBC Fired Investment Banking Chief Over Affair With Staffer

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Royal Bank of Canada fired its U.S. investment banking chief Blair Fleming because he failed to disclose that he was having an improper relationship with an employee.

“Fleming did not comply with our disclosure and conflict of interest policies relating to workplace relationships,” Gillian McArdle, a spokeswoman for the Toronto-based bank, said Friday in a statement. “When the matter was brought forward we investigated and acted promptly.”

Fleming, whose LinkedIn profile shows that he’s married and has four daughters, didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment. When the company announced his departure on Monday, it did so without explanation.

Even though the relationship was consensual, according to a person briefed on the matter, Fleming’s dismissal underscores heightened sensitivities rippling across Wall Street and the corporate landscape as the #MeToo movement holds powerful men accountable for their behavior.

Policies governing personal conduct in the workplace are being enforced more vigorously because of #MeToo, said Andrew Kofsky, a labor and employment counsel at Simpson Thacher in New York.

“As recently as this time last year, a violation of this nature might have only warranted cursory or minor discipline,” he said.

Fleming, 56, began his career at RBC in 1986 in London, Ontario, and held various positions before joining the RBC Capital Markets division, where he became head of global syndicated and leveraged finance. In 2009, he moved to New York and in January of the next year was appointed head of U.S. investment banking.

Within weeks of taking on his new role, Fleming announced a goal of making RBC a Top 10 investment bank in the U.S. within three years by pushing beyond serving “mid-market” American firms to attract business from larger companies worth as much as $10 billion.

RBC Capital Markets has hired aggressively in recent years to bolster its U.S. business, drawing star recruits from Wall Street firms.

— With assistance by Doug Alexander


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