US – Rabo AgriFinance, a subsidiary of the global food and agriculture bank Rabobank, has announced the appointment of John Steeves as its new Head of Rural Business Economics, North America.

Steeves assumed the position on May 1, 2024, succeeding Shawn Smeins, who will retire on May 15 after 31 years with the organization. Steeves brings over 30 years of experience in financial services and will move from Edmonton, Canada, to the company’s headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.

“John is a seasoned leader with a strong track record in serving clients and has a sharp eye for business development that will drive the organization forward and sustain our valued culture,” said Willem Boezen, incoming Head and CEO of Rabobank North America.

Boezen believes Steeves’ expertise in agriculture banking will help customers grow sustainably and feed the world.

Steeves brings a practical approach and a wealth of experience to his new role. Throughout his career, he has shown a talent for fostering employee and client engagement, leading to proven success in business development, strategic planning, and change management.

His leadership style focuses on change and talent development, which includes managing complex profit and loss scenarios.

Before joining Rabo AgriFinance, Steeves served as Executive Vice-President of Banking at Canadian Western Bank.

In this role, he led commercial, personal, and cash management for Northern Alberta and later took on banking activities across Canada.

His leadership transformed the sales force and personal banking teams, developed agriculture banking, and initiated strategies to boost revenue.

Steeves has held various roles in other banks, including the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and HSBC Bank Canada.

At CIBC, he was Vice-President and Region Head for Alberta and Northern Territories, overseeing all commercial banking activities in the area and championing strategic initiatives.

Over the years, Steeves followed Rabobank’s growth in agriculture banking. “I’ve been impressed by their focus on client relationships, ability to deliver innovative financial products, and extensive knowledge of the global food and agriculture industry,” Steeves said. “This approach and commitment to serving agriculture attracted me to join the team.”

Steeves looks forward to working with his new colleagues to support clients’ sustainability goals and meet global and local commitments. “Rabo AgriFinance’s leadership across the food value chain starts with our people, and I’m excited to foster a pipeline of future talent,” he added.

Steeves replaces Shawn Smeins, who joined Rabobank in Cedar Falls, Iowa, in 1993. Smeins has held various roles in operations, risk, and business development.

His dedication to clients and leadership helped grow Rabo AgriFinance into one of the largest independent commercial agriculture lenders in the U.S. “I am thankful for my experience at Rabo AgriFinance and look back on this chapter of my career with pride,” said Smeins. “I’ve been fortunate to work with passionate colleagues and clients transforming agribusiness. I trust John will continue providing excellent value to ag producers.”

“John is a perfect fit for our culture and brings a strategic vision to drive operational excellence, both crucial for North America,” said Stacy Brown, Chief Human Resources Officer at Rabobank North America. “We are thankful to Shawn for his leadership and setting the course for the rural business to provide client-focused solutions.”

Steeves holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in finance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax.

He also completed the CIBC Executive Leadership Development Program at the Schulich School of Business and the Executive Training and Development Program from HSBC.

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