Business Irish

Saturday 17 November 2018

Ulster chief's surprise at negative view of bankers

Outgoing Ulster Bank chief Gerry Mallon
Outgoing Ulster Bank chief Gerry Mallon

John Mulgrew and Donal O'Donovan

Outgoing Ulster Bank boss Gerry Mallon says it's been a "really difficult decision" to leave the role after less than two years in charge.

In an interview with 'Ulster Business', Mr Mallon, who previously headed up Danske Bank in Northern Ireland, said he has "zero regrets" about taking up the Ulster Bank post and insisted that it took some convincing to move to Tesco Bank in Britain.

Mr Mallon said that the banking environment in the Republic had been "interesting", however, he was surprised by how negative the perception of the industry, and bankers in general, still is.

"It's a really difficult decision to leave RBS and to leave Ulster Bank," he said.

Speaking about his new role with Tesco Bank, the Belfast man said: "I wasn't interested in a move, and wasn't looking for a move.

"At that level, you get approached... I initially said that I wasn't interested, but Tesco persisted in asking me to take a look at it."

Mr Mallon - who is also chairman of the Irish Football Association - said he didn't expect to leave the Ulster Bank role after less than two years but insisted he had "zero regrets".

"Yes, clearly you don't go into a role like that with the expectation that you will leave in a couple of years.

"I did see myself as having a longer term at RBS, but when opportunities present themselves to you can't choose the timing."

Mr Mallon is due to leave Ulster Bank for Tesco in July, when he'll be replaced by Jane Howard, a senior RBS executive.

Meanwhile, AIB yesterday named Adrian Moynihan as head of First Trust bank, its retail banking brand in Northern Ireland.

Mr Moynihan is joining the bank from AIG Group.

Headquartered in Belfast, First Trust provides around £2bn (€2.2bn) in financing to personal, business and corporate customers across Northern Ireland.

These services are provided across branches, business centres, digital and phone channels and via a partnership with the UK's Post Office.

In another senior banking hire, Bank of Ireland last week appointed Henry Dummer as its chief marketing officer, a newly created senior role, reporting to CEO Francesca McDonagh.

Mr Dummer was group marketing director at Eir, and before than had marketing roles at Tesco Ireland and Diageo.

He'll take up his new post on June 1.

Irish Independent

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