Wednesday 20 March 2019

McDonagh springs BoI surprise with reshuffle

New head of retail Gavin Kelly
New head of retail Gavin Kelly

Gretchen Friemann

A long-anticipated overhaul of Bank of Ireland's executive team has resulted in a string of internal promotions, but the lack of any external appointments may leave a question mark over CEO Francesca McDonagh's pledge to reform the group's culture.

The biggest surprise of a reshuffle unveiled yesterday was the elevation of chief information officer Gavin Kelly to the top job in the retail bank.

Goodbody stockbrokers immediately welcomed the change, saying in a client note that Mr Kelly's appointment as head of the retail unit - the largest division within the group - would "be positively received given his breadth of consumer experience".

However it is understood the decision surprised staff.

Mr Kelly was seen as a close ally of Liam McLoughlin, the former head of the retail bank, who left at the end of January.

His departure followed an escalation in the tracker mortgage crisis and low morale among staff, which was laid bare in an employee survey commissioned by new boss Ms McDonagh at the end of last year.

That workplace survey - the first in almost a decade - showed confidence in the bank's leadership team at rock bottom.

According to internal documents obtained by the Irish Independent, just 28pc of employees in the Retail Ireland division said they would recommend Bank of Ireland as a place to work.

But insiders said Ms McDonagh's pledge to reboot the group's culture and prioritise the customer fuelled expectations Mr McLoughlin would be replaced by an outsider.

Mr Kelly has worked for Bank of Ireland for 11 years and has held a number of senior roles.

The latest management shake-up also included the departure of three top executives, Lewis Love, group chief operating officer; Michael Torpey, head of the corporate and treasury division and Peter Morris, chief executive of governance and regulatory officer. The exits of both Mr Love and Mr Torpey were widely expected by staff.

Meanwhile corporate banking CEO Tom Hayes was drafted into the group executive committee to reflect the importance of this business, as was Steve Collier, the new executive overseeing a €900m technology overhaul ­- the so-called core banking systems programme.

Vincent Mulvey's role as chief risk officer, was also expanded and will see him taking on responsibilities once handled by Mr Morris.

Ms McDonagh said the overhaul to the executive team was the most significant in a "number of years" and stressed the reshuffle had expanded the "number of senior team members who have direct accountability for serving our customers and growing the business.

This will strengthen the voice of the customer at the very top of our organisation".

Irish Independent

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