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Tuesday 26 September 2017

Low-profile Kitchen well-placed to clarify key issues

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

LOW-profile banker and property expert Danny Kitchen emerged as a key figure at Irish Nationwide Building Society (INBS) during its bailout and subsequent nationalisation and has yet to comment on the latest scandal.

Mr Kitchen became chairman of INBS in April 2009, the same month that a €11,500 watch was given to Michael Fingleton and he took over as interim CEO after Mr Fingleton retired.

It means he is among those best placed to answer questions on who had the power to sign off on the purchase.

However, the watch itself was bought in the period between Mr Fingelton's resignation being announced at the start of April 2009 and his official exit at the end of the month. It was only after that that Mr Kitchen took over as interim CEO with day-to-day management responsibility at the lender. By then the watch had already been presented.

Rejected

Mr Kitchen had not been a director at INBS prior to the banking crisis. He was appointed to the board in October 2008, a month after the bank guarantee, and was installed as chairman by Brian Lenihan in April 2009.

He was tipped to take on the CEO job permanently but is understood to have rejected that offer because of a €360,000 a year salary cap imposed by the government. He remained at the bank until July 1, resigning as chairman when INBS merged with Anglo Irish Bank.

Although low key, Kitchen is a significant figure in corporate Ireland. He is the Irish Stock Exchange appointee to the influential Irish Takeover Panel and is a former director of Bank of Ireland's IBI Corporate Bank unit.

He made his reputation as a financier between 1994 and 2002 when he was the finance director of Green Property. It grew from managing a €100m portfolio to a €2bn portfolio over those years. He has been a non-executive director of construction supplies provider Kingspan, property groups Minerva PLC and LXB Retail Properties.

Irish Independent

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