Business Irish

Thursday 30 March 2017

New AIB boss unveils executive team reshuffle

Credit management at loss-making group is designated an 'absolute priority'

AIB headquarters, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Photo: Bloomberg News
AIB headquarters, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Photo: Bloomberg News

JOE BRENNAN

Allied Irish Banks' new boss Colm Doherty has enlisted a former colleague in the group's capital markets division to overhaul credit management of the loss-making group -- as he unveiled a raft of appointments to his executive team.

Joe O'Connor, currently chief credit officer of capital markets, AIB's most profitable division so far during the financial crisis, is set to become group chief credit officer, integrating credit functions across all its divisions for the first time.

In an email to staff yesterday, Mr Doherty said: "The challenge of ensuring that an appropriate credit culture is redeveloped is an absolute priority for me."

Uncertain

Acting chief financial officer Maeliosa O hOgartaigh is being appointed to the new role as head of corporate development and government relations -- at a time when it remains uncertain as to what stake the State may end up with in the group.

"Maeliosa will be responsible for leading the implementation and ongoing interaction with NAMA, our EU restructuring negotiations and all government relationships," said Mr Doherty.

He will also take responsibility for the group's pension strategy, at a time when it is pushing for members of its defined-benefit scheme to start contributing to a fund that is currently €1.2bn in deficit. The group's NAMA unit is set to be headed by Kieran Bennett, currently group chief risk officer. Up until now, credit decisions across the various divisions were only elevated to group level on an ad hoc basis.

Mr Doherty's previous position as managing director of capital markets is to be filled by Jerry McCrohan, formerly head of corporate banking.

Marcel McCann, currently general manager of group business architecture, will become head of group operations and technology, replacing Steve Meadows, who announced his retirement late last year.

It is understood that external candidates have been identified for the key roles of group chief risk officer and chief financial officer -- but that they are currently being vetted by the Financial Regulator, as the watchdog takes a more hands-on approach to executive appointments in financial institutions.

Mr Doherty told staff that the appointments would be announced "in the near future".

The group managing director is also centralising the office of the company secretary, corporate relations and investor relations under the leadership of Alan Kelly, currently general manager of group finance.

Shares in both AIB and Bank of Ireland have come under increasing pressure in recent weeks amid suggestions that valuations for initial property loans bound for NAMA are coming in under expectations.

The deeper the discounts banks must take on their NAMA-bound loans, the more capital they must raise to rebuild their balance sheets.

The lower their share prices go, the more likely it is that the Government will have to take a lead role in recapitalising the two banks, and a likely majority state ownership.

Irish Independent

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