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Chief operating officer quits Ulster Bank

ULSTER Bank, which is still on the hunt for a new chief executive, has lost another one of its most senior managers.

The RBS-owned bank yesterday announced that its chief operating officer Senan Murphy had quit "to pursue other business opportunities".

The news comes seven months after Ulster's long-time chief executive Cormac McCarthy said he would leave as soon as a successor could be found.

Mr Murphy, who joined Ulster Bank amid much fanfare in November 2007 and is also a group board director, was seen by some as a potential candidate for that job.

Yesterday, however, Ulster Bank issued a brief press release stating that Mr Murphy "has informed the bank of his decision to leave".

Mr McCarthy was quoted as praising Mr Murphy's "outstanding leadership" and said the COO had played a "major role" in the "restructuring and stabilisation of our business during what has been an extremely challenging period".

Ulster Bank lost more than £1bn (€1.16bn) between 2008 and 2009, as development loans and 100pc mortgages granted in the boom took their toll.

The bank has insisted it remains committed to the Irish market, even though loans issued by Ulster triggered another £2.7bn (€3.1bn) in impairment charges over the nine months to September 2010.

It's a far cry from the bank's position when Mr Murphy joined from Airtricity back in 2007, taking up the role as group finance director.

At the time Mr McCarthy said he was looking forward to the newcomer "making an important contribution to our ambition to be the number one banking group on the island of Ireland".

Irish Independent