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FitzPatrick still casting a long shadow, admits CEO

ANGLO Irish Bank chief executive Mike Aynsley last night said people were dismissive of the bank's efforts to reinvent itself because of the lingering shadow of disgraced former boss Sean FitzPatrick.

"What do they think? That Sean FitzPatrick is in the cupboard over there and he's still operating the place?" said Mr Aynsley. "(They think that) and it's like, let's just close the thing (Anglo)."

Mr Aynsley insisted, however, that far from Mr FitzPatrick running things from the closet, Anglo was now a completely different organisation than the one he took over last September.

"This was a place with 1,800 people, over 800 people of the old Anglo guard are gone, have you any idea what culturally that does to an organisation?" he asked.

"There's 200 new people, an entire new management team. People say: why would you let Anglo do anything? But it hasn't been Anglo for the last however many months."

Mr Aynsley added that changing Anglo's name will be top of the agenda if the bank is allowed divide itself into a new 'good' bank.

"You rip the name off the front of the building," he said.

The European Commission (EC) is still deliberating over Anglo's separation plan. Mr Aynsley yesterday said establishing a new bank would help the taxpayer recover some money from Anglo and would be beneficial for the Irish banking market.

He admitted, however, that the EC might opt for a wind-down of the entire bank, or might only allow the new bank to exist if it agreed to partner up with another institution.

"I think it would be a shame if it (the new bank) doesn't (get permission)," Mr Aynsley said, while stressing that he would lead Anglo through its next era, regardless of the outcome from Brussels.

He warned, however, that the delay to the restructuring decision was "dangerous" since "markets thrive on certainty and they hate uncertainty".

Mr Aynsley also revealed that he still hasn't met Mr FitzPatrick, the man personally blamed for bringing Anglo to the brink.

Asked what he would say if he did encounter his predecessor, he replied: "I suppose I'd like to say that I'm very disappointed with many of the things that I've found."

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