Bowler replacement may be delayed until May
IRISH Life & Permanent (IL&P) won't have a new chairman to unveil at its full-year results briefing next Wednesday and may not be able to name its new leader until an AGM in May.
The news comes more than two months after long-running chairperson Gillian Bowler announced plans to step down from IL&P "in the New Year".
IL&P subsequently issued a statement saying it would recruit a new chairperson "as early as possible in 2011", triggering speculation that next week's results could yield an announcement.
Informed sources, however, dismissed this, saying that while the process was "well under way" and had yielded "significant interest" an announcement was not imminent.
IL&P is understood to be considering both internal and external candidates for Ms Bowler's chair, despite a perception that the Financial Regulator would prefer a new face.
The Financial Regulator declined to comment on this approach to the recruitment process, while a spokesman for IL&P also declined to comment.
The new candidate will have to go through the Regulator's fitness and probity tests and is likely to be put through a face-to-face interview with the Regulator's team.
In the interim, Ms Bowler is understood to remain very actively involved in IL&P, despite her plans to invest more time in her travel business Click & Go.
Delaying the announcement of the new chairperson will allow IL&P to make the appointment at a time when there is significantly more clarity around the bancassurer's future.
IL&P's long-running bid to take over building society EBS is expected to be resolved before May's AGM, as is the plc's more recent bid to take on deposits being auctioned by Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide.
The bancassurer is also facing into another round of stress tests at the end of March, which could force the plc to take state cash for the first time or to sell off some assets.
IL&P is so far the only financial to have committed to publishing its results before the stress tests announcement.