Saturday 26 May 2018

NAMA to appoint new CFO as part of major shake-up

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

THE National Asset Management Agency has announced plans to hire a chief finance officer. The new role comes as part of the first major shake-up at the agency since it was set up in 2009.

NAMA has been heavily criticised in the past for its slow moving, bureaucratic structures. The agency's bosses regularly dispute that reputation, arguing that they make speedy credit decisions.

However, the new structure was prompted in large part by a review of NAMA by ex-HSBC banker Michael Geoghegan. The review took place last year at the request of Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

Mr Geoghegan's largely positive report expressed concerns about the extent of the internal administration at NAMA. "This is manifested in the large number of internal meetings, long agendas and substantial numbers of attendees," he said.

The same review said NAMA chief executive Brendan McDonagh was managing an "extraordinary'' workload and recommended freeing the top official to focus on strategic issues.

The new structure comes after a further review by the board of NAMA and goes a long way towards distributing responsibilities across a senior team.

Under the new structure, five division heads will report to Mr McDonagh; internal candidates have already been appointed to four of the senior positions.

The agency named John Mulcahy as head of asset management, Ronnie Hanna as head of asset recovery and Sean O'Faolain as head of strategy and communications.

Aideen O'Reilly remains head of the agency's legal division

The job of chief financial officer is the fifth of the senior executive jobs.

Meanwhile, efforts to sell UK assets that are under the control of NAMA remain a major focus.

Receivers Begbie Traynor last night put the Connaught Square development site in central Birmingham on the market.

A €150m apartment and hotel development planned for the site has been shelved and the administrators are now looking to offload the site to a buyer prepared to begin the project from scratch. The site is now likely to fetch less than £10m (€12m).

The process to sell NAMA's biggest UK asset, the iconic Battersea Power Station is also expected to kick off within weeks.

Yesterday news agency Reuters said the site could be worth an extra £470m to a developer if the new owner was allowed to demolish the protected landmark building itself.

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