John Cleghorn succeeded Allan Taylor as chief executive of Royal Bank of Canada in November 1994. At the same time, the bank created a six-member executive committee known as the Group Office. Under the structure, senior executives are collectively responsible for all areas of the bank, rather than a particular business or group of businesses.

So far it's working well, said Mr. Cleghorn. "We all know each other, and everybody is experienced in that group," he said. "I would say that there is a good top-down, bottom-up look at the organization." Vice chairman Bruce Galloway said, "It's making a difference. I think, on balance, we're much more focused on individual businesses, we're much more focused on our priorities, than we would have been in the past."

While he is responsible for wholesale banking and systems and operations, Mr. Galloway said he spends a significant amount of time on other areas of the bank, including retail banking.

"My counterparts are all equally dispersed," he said. "We're more collectively in touch with the issues." Royal Bank management has changed in other ways in recent years, he said. "We've renewed our executive ranks from the level of VP up quite significantly in the last three years," said Mr. Galloway. "We've gone through kind of a generational change."

There has been some speculation that Mr. Galloway, who is the youngest member of the Group Office, may benefit from such generational change.

However, he dismisses speculation that he's being groomed for the top job at the bank, noting that there are other younger executives in key positions at the bank. "There is a lot of competition. Whether it's me or anyone else, that's not a hot topic at the moment at all," he said. "It's certainly not on my mind."

Others note that the bank's chairman, Mr. Cleghorn, is just 53 years old and has been in the job for less than a year and a half.

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