Bank's former chief in UK living in dream lakeside home
THE former boss of Anglo Irish Bank's British operations, currently being pursued by the bank for repayment of a chunk of his almost €6m retirement pay-off, is living in a palatial property in Co Clare.
John Rowan (55) quit the bank after former Anglo colleague David Drumm beat him in the race to become chief executive in 2005.
Since his retirement he has developed his dream home on the shores of Lough Derg.
Proceedings against Mr Rowan, launched by IBRC – the now-liquidated successor to Anglo – are to resume in the Commercial Court later this month.
IBRC is claiming that the resignation agreement drawn up for Mr Rowan does not comply with the Companies Act because it wasn't approved by a general meeting of the bank.
In an affidavit, Mr Rowan has said he is "horrified" that the bank is now seeking repayment more than seven years after he stepped down from Anglo, pointing out that it was not until late 2011 that IBRC claimed his retirement package was unlawful.
He ran Anglo Irish Bank's UK operations for almost two decades, building up the business from scratch from 1988 onwards until it represented more than a third of the bank's profits at the time of his resignation.
Enjoying a salary in excess of €400,000 in his final years at Anglo, Mr Rowan was also paid bonuses totalling almost €2m over 2004 and 2005.
Mr Rowan left the bank three years before its collapse in 2008, and had no involvement with the bank during the period featured in the Anglo Tapes.
Mr Rowan and his wife Annette bought the property at Rahena Beg, Killaloe, Co Clare, which included almost 10 acres of land and a two-storey house, in August 2007.
There is no mortgage recorded on the property, according to land registry papers.
They applied to Clare County Council to make alterations to extend the existing house and build a stable for horses, which was granted in September 2008.
However, the couple abandoned those plans in favour of demolishing the old house and replace it with a new building that is more than 1,000 sq ft larger, bringing the overall size of the house to almost 6,700 sq ft.
An architect's report submitted with the application shows that they decided to change the plans because the old building was "so fundamentally flawed in structural terms and so poorly insulated".
Drawings submitted with a new planning application in June 2009 show that the main building boasts five-bedrooms, all ensuite, and is connected to a separate one bedroom annex surrounding a central courtyard with spaces for six cars.
The master bedroom is connected to two walk-in wardrobes and also has a dressing room attached.
Downstairs rooms include a lounge, a dining room big enough for a table that seats 16 and a den and study that open on to a south facing veranda.
IBRC is seeking declarations that Mr Rowan repay around €5m he received as part of his resignation agreement including sums he received for loss of office, an annual bonus for 2005 and pension contributions.
Attempts to contact Mr Rowan in recent days were unsuccessful.