Business Irish

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Boucher will remain in charge after funding deal with investors

MANAGEMENT

Emmet Oliver

Richie Boucher, the Bank of Ireland chief executive, is to remain at the top of the lender, with the government distancing itself from any attempts to ditch the banker.

Mr Boucher has led the bank's attempts to raise €5.2bn of additional capital. Up until late Sunday night, it looked like, apart from a group of bondholders, most of this would have to come from the State.

But with news that a group of north-American investment funds are willing to invest €1.1bn in the bank, Mr Boucher is likely to remain in his position. Financial sources said Mr Boucher had met with the investors and the investment case pitched by the bank involves him remaining on.

However, one final hurdle has to be cleared with the Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield, who has asked all executive directors of Irish bank to pass a fitness and probity test. Mr Boucher is confident he can do this.

Suggestions

While Finance Minister Michael Noonan claimed banking directors who were in place at the time of the guarantee scheme would have to go, ministers were yesterday playing down any suggestions that Mr Boucher would move on.

Sources said that, given the significant investment by private shareholders, the Government had no plans to interfere in the operations and management of the bank.

This signalled that the new group of north-American investors are likely to have at least a behind-the-scenes influence on the management line- up in future.

Meanwhile yesterday, speaking at the MacGill summer school, Mr Elderfield warned about potential legal challenges over asking banking directors to leave their posts.

Mr Elderfield signalled he expected possible court action against his new investigative powers to look into directors' track records in the run-up to the financial crisis.

"I don't underestimate the legal challenges that we might have in using our new powers," he said. "But we must be prepared to make difficult judgments on fitness and probity and it is right that we should start with this group."

Irish Independent

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