General Counsel and Executive Committee Lead for Sustainability at BMO Financial Group
Sharon Haward-Laird is General Counsel of BMO Financial Group and leads the bank’s legal and regulatory compliance groups. She is responsible for corporate governance, banking regulation and supervision, and litigation. She also oversees the bank’s ethics, ombudsman, sustainability and investigations practices, and is executive committee lead for sustainability at BMO. She is a member of BMO’s executive committee and chairs the bank’s enterprise regulatory and reputation risk committees.
Since joining BMO in 2000, Sharon has held a number of senior roles across the bank’s corporate functions and operating groups including Deputy General Counsel, Capital Markets and Head of Corporate Communications, Government and Investor Relations.
Most recently, Sharon was Head, North American Treasury & Payment Solutions (“TPS”) with responsibility for defining and executing strategy for treasury management, commercial payments, corporate card, trade finance and liquidity solutions. She redefined TPS strategy with a focus on the customer while leading a multi-year effort to rationalize technology applications, improve platform stability, and modernize payments infrastructure. As a result of these efforts, TPS achieved strong business results and was recognized with awards including the Aite Group 2019 Cash Management and Payments Innovation Award for Digital Channel Capabilities and the 2019 Celent Model Bank Award for Payments Services Hub Implementation.
Sharon obtained her Bachelor of Laws from the University of Toronto and practised commercial litigation at Torys LLP. She was previously named to Lexpert’s Top 40 and 40 Internal Legal Counsel. Sharon has been a member of the Board of Directors of Moneris Corporation and BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. and was Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Interac Corporation. In 2019 and 2020, American Banker named Sharon one of the Most Powerful Women to Watch.
Sharon is a proud supporter of the United Way and was previously responsible for the bank’s corporate donations and employee giving teams. She is a passionate advocate of the need for open dialogue about mental health and speaks regularly on the topic. She has also served on the board of Writer’s Trust of Canada.