Sunday 8 December 2019

Insider faces life on the outside

Siobhan Creaton

COLM Doherty was a controversial appointment to the AIB top job, just six months after a row about his pay with Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.

He was the former head of one of the bank's most profitable divisions, the capital markets unit, and the candidate that the AIB's board and senior management wanted for the job.

Mr Lenihan and most observers had wanted to see a fresh pair of hands take the reins at a bank renowned for its corporate arrogance and aggressive stance with regulators. In the end, however, AIB got its way -- yet again.

The minister did stand up to Mr Doherty to a certain extent by blocking an attempt by AIB to pay him €133,000 more than the maximum €500,000 allowed for chief executives.

Since then, Mr Doherty appointed a new management team and tried to put the bank on a sound financial footing, primarily by selling off its most attractive assets to raise the €7.4bn required by the Financial Regulator.

Some AIB staff have criticised him for a perceived lack of leadership.

Nevertheless, he won some respect internationally for getting more than €3bn from the Spanish bank Santander for AIB's Polish bank. He was also said to be close to striking a deal to sell its 22pc stake in the US bank, M&T for more than €1bn.

But having ultimately failed to raise the money AIB needed to stay out of government control, his skills will not be required under the new regime.

Irish Independent

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