The head of state-owned Irish Life has delayed his planned retirement as controversial takeover talks with a Canadian bidder edge closer to a deal.
The news comes as talks on a possible deal heat up, including warnings from a former shareholder that Finance Minister Michael Noonan is trying to "flip" a company he bought only last year.
The Government is understood to be seeking €1.3bn for Irish Life, which is profitable and is the country's biggest life and pensions provider.
The price would match what the State paid to buy the business from Irish Life & Permanent last year, in a deal designed to inject cash into its banking arm, Permanent TSB. Last weekend Piotr Skoczylas, a non-executive director of Permanent TSB, wrote to the minister threatening to block any sale.
Irish Life chief executive Kevin Murphy (61), pictured, was due to step down at the end of last year under his contract with the nationalised insurance company. He has agreed to stay on "for some months" pending the appointment of a successor, according to a company spokesman.
It means the chief executive will remain in place during a highly sensitive time for the company, as talks on a possible sale to Canada's Great-West Lifeco, the owner of Canada Life, remain ongoing.