Business Irish

Sunday 17 December 2017

Ulster banks on ex-Eircom boss

FORMER Eircom boss Philip Nolan is the new chairman of Ulster Bank, following Sean Dorgan's decision to step down. Already deputy chairman at the bank, he now takes on the unenviable task of steering a seemingly sinking ship.

His extensive experience at the top of high-profile and troubled companies will undoubtedly help.

This includes a stint as chief executive of Eircom, which went into private ownership, re-floated and then returned to private hands again while Mr Nolan was at the helm.

Parent Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is on the verge of privatisation, following pressure from UK prime minister David Cameron and the resignation of chief executive Stephen Hester, who was unprepared to lead the company through the process.

As part of this, it looks increasingly likely that Ulster Bank will be separated from its British parent and ultimately sold.

The loss-making Irish institution has cost RBS more than €16bn since 2008.

Mr Nolan is a mineral man by trade; he has a PhD in geology from Queen's University Belfast and has worked with British Petroleum and British Gas, and is currently a non-executive director at Providence Resources.

Gas and oil exploration is a notoriously speculative business, with an awful lot of digging in windswept deserts and offshore sites taking place before a company ever strikes gold. Mr Nolan's experience has no doubt taught him the value of perseverance, which Ulster Bank needs now more than ever.

Irish Independent

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