Tom McEnaney BANK of Ireland has restructured its entire back-office operations in a move which has seen the bank appoint six new executives.
The appointment of the executives, who were informed of their new positions last Tuesday, is seen as a precursor to plans by the bank to lay off 2,100 back-office staff, some 1,200 of whom are due to be axed by next March.
It is understood that as part of the restructuring all back-office senior executives were effectively asked to re-apply for their jobs, but none of them were successful.
According to banking sources, few of the new appointments have worked in the departments they are now responsible for, making it easier for them to cull staff.
A spokeswoman for Bank of Ireland said it was too soon to speculate on what the next move would be.
She declined to say how many senior executives had lost their positions under the restructuring on the basis that the new structure and the old structure are "not comparable".
In October, Bank of Ireland said that it would cut ?30m from its cost base this year as part of a programme aimed at taking ?120m from the cost base by 2009.
Brian Goggin, the bank's chief executive, has effectively staked his reputation on his ability to achieve the cost cuts.
Tony Wyeth, a senior banking executive brought in by Bank of Ireland from Abbey National to help restructure the bank, was responsible for this week's shake-up at the back-office executive team.
As part of this week's restructuring, Anne Weatherston has been appointed chief technology officer with responsibility for leading IT strategy development across the group.
Vincent Brennan has been appointed head of group payments, which includes card, cash and electronic payments and associated services offered to business and personal customers.
Orla Cunningham has been given the curious title of head of the alnova programme. She will be responsible for revising the retail banking systems of the bank in the UK and Ireland.
Sean Reynolds has been appointed head of group credit operations.
Among other things, Mr Reynolds will be responsible for extending the number of automated credit decision taken by the bank.
Mary Dillon is the new head of group customer contact, and Eamonn Tuffy is appointed head of banking operations with responsibility for areas including cash handling, printing, and document management. Anna Gallagher is appointed head of manufacturing governance and will be responsible for regulatory matters.
Two other positions, head of human resources and head of finance, have yet to be filled.