* Larry Pollock says could stay longer if needed
* Canada’s longest-serving bank CEO has had 21-year run
TORONTO, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Canadian Western Bank (CWB.TO) CEO Larry Pollock, the longest-serving chief executive at a Canadian bank, says he’ll remain at the helm for at least two more years, suggesting he may be thinking of ending his 21-year run at the regional lender.
Pollock, who became president and chief executive of the Edmonton, Alberta-based bank in 1990, often fields questions about when he will step down, and made a point of addressing the issue at the bank’s investor day in Toronto on Wednesday.
“I‘m here till I‘m gone, but I’ll be fully engaged for another couple of years, and then longer if needed,” he said.
He added that the bank will disclose the terms of his most recent contract when it releases its 2011 proxy circular later this month.
“They’re hinting that he’s got a couple of years to go, and depending on how the contract is structured, it could be an option to extend,” said Robert Sedran, an analyst at CIBC World Markets.
Over the past two decades, Pollock has overseen the transformation of the bank from a six-branch operation to Canada’s No. 7 bank by market capitalization.
The bank’s strength has been rooted in its loans to companies working in the Alberta oil sands, and Canadian Western has reported a profit in each quarter of Pollock’s stewardship.
Its shares, which have quadrupled since the end of 2002, slipped 13 Canadian cents to C$28.29 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday.
“He’s clearly the leader and a stabilizing influence on the bank,” Sedran said.
“Having said that, it’s a deep team around him, so it’s not like I‘m concerned that he’s one of these larger-than-life CEOs that’s the only thing driving the firm.”
$1=$0.99 Canadian Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway