Business Irish

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Ulster Bank CEO Mallon in shock exit for Tesco top job

Gerry Mallon, Chief Executive of Ulster Bank. Photo: INM
Gerry Mallon, Chief Executive of Ulster Bank. Photo: INM

Gretchen Friemann and Ellie Donnelly

Ulster Bank CEO Gerry Mallon has stunned staff by announcing he is quitting to head up Tesco Bank.

A search for his successor is under way with Mr Mallon committing to remain at his post for another six months before taking charge at the UK supermarket giant's financial services arm.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of another high-level departure in the sector, with Bank of Ireland's head of retail, Liam McLoughlin, due to leave next week.

Mr Mallon's unexpected exit drew mixed responses with John Cronin of Goodbody characterising the appointment as a "sensible move" for Tesco, a challenger bank that makes annual profits of £200m.

Owen Callan of Investec argued Mr Mallon, who previously helmed Danske's Northern Ireland operations, may have viewed this as "good a time as any to jump" given the turnaround plan had entered its final phase.

Ulster Bank has come under sustained criticism for its tardiness in compensating customers who were overcharged for tracker mortgages and has sought to delay a scheduled appearance before the Oireachtas Finance Committee next month.

Mr Mallon's short tenure at the bank, he has been in charge for just 18 months, sparked an outcry from the Financial Services Union which pointed out that Ulster Bank has closed 38 branches in the past decade and shut down a further 22 in 2017.

Larry Broderick, CEO of the FSU, appealed to RBS to "radically review its approach to leadership in Ulster Bank".

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