Friday 23 February 2018

Paddy Power appoints former head of Ulster Bank as chief finance officer

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

BOOKMAKER Paddy Power has appointed the former head of Ulster Bank Cormac McCarthy as chief financial officer.

Mr McCarthy joined the board of the bookies firm in August last year. He stepped down as chief executive of Ulster Bank in March 2010 after holding on to his top spot at the bank throughout the period of the property crash.

He resigned after 10 years as CEO -- running First Active from 2000 to 2004, when it was acquired by RBS-owned Ulster Bank, then taking the top job at the larger bank. He had previously been deputy chief executive at the UK Retail division of RBS.

Losses at Ulster Bank have been in line with some of the worst-performing Irish-owned banks since the property collapse.

Ulster Bank has had to set aside some €9bn to cope with losses on its Irish loan book -- including a mix of commercial and personal debt.

Just this week, the bank led a syndicate of lenders in a High Court case to register a €164m judgment against developer Sean Dunne in an effort to recover some of the near €400m the bank arranged for his 2005 deal to buy the Jurys Hotel site in Ballsbridge, amongst the biggest and worst property deals of the Tiger era.

Since he stepped down from Ulster Bank, Mr McCarthy has been appointed to non-executive director roles at Paddy Power, last August, and at wholesale and retail group BWG.

Paddy Power said last week that revenue for the year so far has risen 28pc and it had began to speed up expansion throughout the business, following its launch into the Italian online market this week.

The company has entered betting markets in Australia, Canada and France, and acquired a games developer in Bulgaria. It also has a team in San Francisco keeping a close eye on the legality of online gambling in the United States.

Paddy Power shares were down 1.34pc at 50.02 cent each in Dublin. The company has a market cap of €2.45bn, which means it is now the biggest "financial services" company on the Irish Stock Exchange, following the collapse and wholesale nationalisation of the banking sector.

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