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Stanley leads the way in race for Ulster Bank CEO job


Chief Executive of Ulster Bank, Jim Brown

Chief Executive of Ulster Bank, Jim Brown

Chief Executive of Ulster Bank, Jim Brown

External and internal candidates are being consider by RBS for the vacant chief executive position at Ulster Bank, it is understood.

According to sources close to the bank, Ulster's chief financial officer Paul Stanley is the favourite for the job. However other external and internal candidates are being considered as well.

RBS Executive Search, an internal UK-based unit of the group which fills senior roles across its worldwide operation, is involved in the process. That unit is led by headhunter Stuart McIntyre.

Current boss Jim Brown is giving the role up to take over RBS subsidiary Williams & Glyn, which will be floated. The search for his replacement is ongoing. The result may not be known for months.

The appointment must be approved by the European Central Bank, which last year took over ultimate responsibility for regulating the institution from the Central Bank. Getting ECB approval for the recent appointment of new AIB chief executive Bernard Byrne took longer than expected.

Stanley joined the lender in 2013, moving over from AIB where he was financial controller and later acting chief financial officer.

The position of chief executive at Ulster Bank is the highest paid in domestic retail banking. Brown's total remuneration package, which included salary, pension and other benefits, touched €1.63m in 2014 - up from €979,000 a year earlier after the lender lurched into profit.

AIB's former chief executive David Duffy, by contrast, had his salary capped at €500,000 while Bank of Ireland's Richie Boucher earned €843,000. PTSB chief executive Jeremy Masding was paid closer to €400,000 last year.

Jim Brown is thought to be under pressure to leave as soon as possible to take over at Williams & Glyn, which must be floated by 2017.

The European Commission ordered its sale as a condition of RBS' £45bn (€63bn) bail-out in 2008.

RBS could be forced to add more branches to the business before the sale after the British Government asked for a review of its impact on competition in the banking market.

Brown's successor will inherit a bank that has returned to profitability but still has many challenges. In May it announced its fifth consecutive profitable quarter, clocking up an operating profit of £51m (€69m). But the lender is still grappling with legacy issues such as a large non-performing mortgage portfolio. It is also under pressure to further slash its rate on standard variable mortgages.

Sunday Indo Business