Business Irish

Saturday 21 September 2019

Ex-AIB chief Doherty joins up with trade finance group Credebt

Colm Doherty, who has joined Credebt Exchange
Colm Doherty, who has joined Credebt Exchange

Jason Corcoran

Colm Doherty, former AIB chief executive, has joined Credebt Exchange as a non-executive director to help the Irish trade finance firm to grow its business.

Doherty is a veteran dealmaker who previously led AIB's Capital Markets division for a decade before being named as head of the bank in 2009. He resigned in November 2010, stepping down as one of the conditions of a second state bailout.

It later emerged that he'd earned €3m during his brief time at the helm. This included a salary of €432,000 for the 11 months from January to November 2010.

Since leaving AIB, Doherty has been busy assembling a portfolio of directorships as well as working as a capital markets consultant for a number of firms.

In 2013, he joined the board of the Denis O'Brien-backed utilities services Siteserv and last year was appointed chairman of the board of the private Beacon Hospital.

Doherty was also tapped in 2014, along with former Taoiseach Brian Cowen, to join the board of Topaz, the fuel and retail chain.

In May this year, Doherty told the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry that there were "major failings" in the approach to credit management at AIB prior to the banking crisis in 2008.

"It was not until the third quarter of 2008 as the Irish economy deteriorated that we began to get an understanding of the extent of the large exposures to single counterparties; the impact of the level of exposure to the property subsector of development land; and the absence of basic credit procedures," he said.

Credebt Exchange is a full owned Irish company that formally started trading in July of 2013 and to date has provided trade finance in excess of €60m, using its financial product Convertibill, according to Reynolds.

"We are very fortunate to be able to attract someone with the depth and breadth of experience in finance that Colm has," said Patrick Reynolds, the chief executive of Credebt Exchange.

The firm, which employs 19 people in Dublin, provides financing primarily for small- to medium-sized enterprises and reports quarter-on-quarter growth rates of about 160pc.

Alternative forms of financing are becoming more common. With 200,000 SMEs in Ireland, access to finance from traditional banks and other sources remains an issue, despite improvements since the height of the recession.

And while there are over 100 sources of funding across Government and private sectors totalling more than €6bn, a recent survey of nearly 2,000 SMEs showed a lack of awareness of these debt facilities.

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