A TOP British banker is the new executive chairman of AIB, it was confirmed last night.
David Hodgkinson is a former senior executive with British banking giant HSBC.
News of his appointment comes less than a month after AIB revealed that its two top bosses would be stepping down as the bank prepares for nationalisation.
Previous executive chairman Donal O'Connor has already left and managing director Colm Doherty is expected to exit by the end of November.
Mr Hodgkinson will "lead the bank through this difficult period and manage the process for the appointment of group chief executive", AIB said in a statement.
The appointment has yet to be approved by Financial Regulator Matthew Elderfield, but this is likely to take just days given Mr Hodgkinson's 40 years of experience.
Details of his pay package have yet to be revealed and it is unclear whether he will fall under the €500,000 cap on pay for executives at bailed-out banks.
"My objective is to work closely with all AIB stakeholders and to tackle the serious challenges which confront the bank," Mr Hodgkinson said last night.
"Our success in this endeavour is important not only to the bank, but also in restoring Ireland's economic strength."
In a brief statement, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan welcomed the appointment.
"Mr Hodgkinson brings a wealth of international banking experience to this role and his leadership will be critical in enabling AIB to overcome its current challenges and play its full part in Ireland's economic recovery," Mr Lenihan said.
A HSBC employee since 1969, Mr Hodgkinson spent a lengthy term overseas where he rose to managing director of the Saudi British Bank from 1993 to 2003 and chief executive of HSBC Middle East from 2003 to 2006.
The career banker, who retired at the end of 2008, is best known for his frank comments in November of that year when he told journalists his bank might not pass on a cut in Bank of England interest rates to HSBC's 300,000 mortgage holders.