Friday 19 January 2018

Bridgepoint swoop for acquisition chief at BoI

Bank of Ireland faces a testing time
Bank of Ireland faces a testing time

Gretchen Friemann

The head of one of Bank of Ireland's most lucrative divisions has jumped ship to Bridgepoint, a European buyout group, just as the bank continues to search for a new chief executive.

David Walsh has been the long time head of the acquisition finance unit, which invests in European and US leveraged loans, including those funding large scale private equity backed takeovers.

Bank of Ireland's annual report shows the unit's loan book expanded to €4.4bn in 2016 - up from €3.9bn in the previous year with the division counted as a substantial part of the bank's international lending arm.

Bridgepoint's swoop for Walsh comes at an awkward time for the bank. A search is already underway for a replacement to CEO Richie Boucher who announced he would step down earlier this year.

Mr Walsh's move to Bridgepoint comes after the bank has funded a number of transactions for the buyout firm, including its purchase in 2015 of a controlling stake in Jersey-based fund services company Estera, as well as the €300m acquisition of French software solutions provider, eFront.

Last week the Irish Independent revealed that Patrick (PG) Flynn, the former chief financial officer at Dutch lender ING is among the names in the frame for the top job at Bank of Ireland.

A spokesman for the bank declined to comment on Mr Walsh's move.

Irish Independent

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