John E. Cleghorn

Retired Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Royal Bank of Canada; Honorary Lifetime Member of Desautels International Advisory and Advancement Board
John E. Cleghorn

BCom'62, LLD'04


John Cleghorn retired as Chairman and CEO and a director of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) in 2001. He has served on several corporate and community boards and is currently a director of The Atlantic Salmon Federation, a Member of the First World War Steering Committee of The Canadian War Museum, Chancellor Emeritus of Wilfrid Laurier University, and Governor Emeritus of McGill University.

Born in Montreal July 7, 1941, he graduated from McGill University with a B. Comm. in 1962. He articled with Clarkson Gordon (now Ernst & Young) becoming a chartered accountant in 1964, following which he was a sugar futures trader and from 1966 to 1974 he worked for Citibank and its Canadian affiliate, Mercantile Bank, with assignments in New York, Montreal, and western Canada.

He joined Royal Bank of Canada in 1974, becoming president in 1986; chief operating officer in 1990; chief executive officer in 1994, and chairman and chief executive officer in 1995.

He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, a fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario and a fellow of the Quebec Chartered Professional Accountants Order. He is a Companion of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame, an Officer of YMCA Canada’s Fellowship of Honour, and a recipient of the Honorary Associate Award from The Conference Board of Canada. He holds honorary degrees from Acadia, Bishop's, McGill and Wilfrid Laurier Universities.

John and his wife, Pattie, support several philanthropic initiatives including McGill University, and the Cleghorn Battlefield Fellowship Tours in Europe for high school teachers and other Canadian military history projects at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Specialization by geographical area: 
Desautels International Advisory and Advancement Board

McGill Desautels International Advisory and Advancement Board

Comprised of highly successful industry leaders from around the globe, who provide regular support and recommendations to our Dean and the Faculty. 

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