Janice Fukakusa
Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Royal Bank of Canada

Chief financial officers are known for their facility with numbers, but the people factor is what sold Royal Bank of Canada's Janice Fukakusa on the biggest bank M&A deal of the year.

"While we viewed City National as a strong fit in terms of their strategic goals and ability to complement and enhance our abilities," Fukakusa says, "feeling out whether there would be a fit on the 'softer' elements of culture and values would be equally critical and required that we really got to know their leadership and the feel of their organization."

As chair of RBC's group operating committee, one of Fukakusa's responsibilities is acquisitions.

Her signoff cleared the way for a $5.4 billion deal to buy the Los Angeles-based company, and she is leading the preparations to absorb its operations into RBC. The transaction, expected to close by the end of the year, would mark RBC's return to the U.S. retail banking market after a three-year absence.

When she isn't overseeing the finances of the fifth-largest bank in North America, Fukakusa serves on multiple charitable boards. These include the advisory board of Ashinaga, a Japan-based nonprofit that provides educational support to orphaned children globally, and the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, which raised $88 million for cancer research in 2014. Fukakusa also serves on the board of governors for Ryerson University in RBC's headquarters city of Toronto, and chairs the selection committee charged with finding the next president of the university.

"I feel every executive should consider board service," Fukakusa says. "The experiences, knowledge and strong networks can help you further your career, while extending your reach and impact into new areas."

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