Tuesday 24 October 2017

John Rowan

Roisin Burke

JOHN Rowan must be thanking his lucky stars that he didn't get the job he was after. Rowan had been one of the favourites to succeed Sean FitzPatrick as CEO of Anglo Irish Bank.

In the end, the job went to David Drumm -- and in light of all that has followed, Rowan might now be reflecting on a narrow escape.

He joined Anglo in 1985 and went to London in 1988 to head up its newly formed UK division. Under his guidance Anglo found a strong niche there, courting big family companies and smaller businesses and nurturing long-term relationships.

But the major-league opportunities came with the Celtic Tiger, as cash-laden Irish tycoons sought to expand their investment horizons beyond Ireland. By 2004, what Property Week called "the Irish stampede" of investment in British commercial property was in full swing, hitting €2.5bn that year. Epic deals included the Quinlan Private-led €1bn buy of the Savoy Hotel group by a consortium of major Irish names, backed by Anglo and BoI.

By then, 95 per cent of the bank's activity in Britain was in commercial property investment. Rowan's yearly remuneration package grew from €708,000 in 2001 to €2.6m in 2005.

Not long after Drumm won the top job in Ireland Rowan announced his intention to leave Anglo. When he retired at the end of 2005, he was given a €1.1m extra payout "in recognition of his substantial contribution to the group".

Since then he has been active in a number of property and financial services businesses, including Edinburgh House Estates, which has an investment portfolio in Germany that it values at €1bn.

He is a non-executive director of the IFG Group. The Dubliner is married with three sons. Rowan is part of the Calvera syndicate, which owns top racehorse Paco Boy.

Sunday Independent

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