Canadian Security Magazine

Handren leaving RBC for CIBC

Jennifer Brown   

News Retail

Richard Handren, director of protection services at RBC, is leaving the bank to take on the role of vice-president, corporate security at CIBC effective May 17.

Handren, who has been with RBC since 2003, confirmed to Canadian Security April 27 that he had accepted the offer from CIBC and informed his team Monday afternoon.

"I am very happy here and they treat me well but it was an interesting challenge that CIBC put forward," says Handren, who was named Security Director of the Year in 2009. "It will allow me to make use of all of my skill sets."

The news came after several months of speculation in the industry as to who would take the top security spot at CIBC.

Before joining RBC Handren’s career was largely focused on fraud investigation.


He joined the RCMP shortly after his 19th birthday, right out of high school. For the next 25 years he worked in various units of enforcement across Canada and retired from the force in Nova Scotia. About 10 of those years were focused on financial crime. During his time on the force he went to night school and earned an under grad degree majoring in business administration.

He then got into financial work and found his calling — secret commissions, fraud, political corruption — he found it challenging and exciting.

Eventually, he was commissioned into the senior ranks of the force and transferred to Halifax to head up operations for commercial crime and federal policing for the province of Nova Scotia. Three years later he was approached by Imperial Oil — they offered him a position in Toronto overseeing fraud and theft cases for the company.

Four years into that job he was then tapped by Deloitte and Touche to build on the accounting firm’s fraud investigation team. 

“I soon discovered that instead of being reactive, there was an opportunity to be proactive and I started selling management on putting proactive programs in place and doing sound threat-risk assessments and putting good integrated security systems in place,” says Handren.

Then, one day in 2003 he received two phone calls from two different people telling him RBC was looking to fill a senior security position. A week later he took the job.

In his first six-months with RBC Handren worked to understand the business and knowing where the gaps were.

“I put a major report in after that and said, ”˜This is where we need to go and who we need’,” he says.
He broke the team into executive protection and personnel security and physical security.

In 2008 Handren and his team completed what is probably the largest project of his career — an intrusion and access control integration at 1,100 RBC branches across Canada.

It was an almost five-year project from start to finish. When he arrived at RBC he was trying to learn what system were in existence and how best to standardize them.

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