Thursday 15 November 2018

BoI picks insider Boucher to replace outgoing CEO Goggin

Incoming Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher, left, with outgoing chief executive Brian Goggin announcing the bank’s
Interim Results last November at the BoI HQ on Baggot St, Dublin
Incoming Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher, left, with outgoing chief executive Brian Goggin announcing the bank’s Interim Results last November at the BoI HQ on Baggot St, Dublin

Joe Brennan

Bank of Ireland's trawl for a new chief executive has ended with the appointment of internal candidate Richie Boucher.

The Zambia-born banker heads up the group's retail financial services business in Ireland and replaces Brian Goggin with immediate effect.

Bank of Ireland 'lifer' Mr Goggin, who flagged his early retirement in January, left the group yesterday after 40 years.

Mr Boucher (50) came up against Des Crowley, the head of Bank of Ireland's UK business for the job. He takes the role without an agreement on his remuneration, which will be decided following the publication of the government-commissioned report on bank executives' pay.

Accepting the appointment, Mr Boucher said he was "very conscious of the current state of the financial services industry, the low opinion which the general public has of banks and the very difficult economic conditions that we face".

He said he fully accepted "that we have an uphill battle as we work towards restoring the trust and confidence of our customers, stockholders and the general public. It is my commitment that I will work relentlessly with my colleagues in Bank of Ireland to win this confidence".

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan is understood to have been informed of the appointment in recent days.

Educated in Rockwell College in Co Tipperary and, later, at Trinity College Dublin, Mr Boucher joined Bank of Ireland in 2003 from Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), where he had been regional managing director for corporate banking for London and the South East.

He previously held a number of prominent roles at RBS's Ulster Bank, including head of corporate and business banking and head of the banks retail operations in the Republic.

The Irish Independent reported last November that both Mr Boucher and his former boss had differences of opinion over the need for private equity investment as a number of consortiums circled the bank.

Mr Goggin was believed to have think that the group should steer clear of these firms, while Mr Boucher was believed to be more favourably disposed to fresh outside investment.

The so-called Mallabraca consortium, assembled by financiers Nigel McDermott and Nick Corcoran and comprised of US private equity firms Carlyle and JC Flowers as well as sovereign wealth money, led the chase.

However, the Government subsequently decided that State capital was the way to go. Initial plans for a €2bn cash injection were upped earlier this month to €3.5bn.

Richard Burrows, governor of Bank of Ireland, said: "Richie Boucher has a broad range of banking experience and is an outstanding leader. I and my fellow directors are confident that Richie will provide strong leadership to Bank of Ireland Group at this very challenging time."

Labour said the decision of the to appoint an internal candidate as chief cxecutive is "most disappointing". "I am not in any way casting any aspersions on Mr Boucher's ability or integrity, but this is a missed opportunity to signal a new beginning in Irish banking," said spokeswoman on Finance, Joan Burton.

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