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Two top execs exit at Ulster Bank

TWO of Ulster Bank's eight-person senior executive team decided to depart on the same day last week causing yet more uncertainty at the under-fire British bank.

The internal announcement of the departure of two of Ulster's key management crowns a chaotic week that saw the bank forced to unreservedly apologise to up to 100,000 of its customers who found they couldn't access their accounts because of IT problems.

Veteran banker Charles McManus, chief financial officer of Ulster, and Joe Molloy, head of its Irish global restructuring group, both departed last week for what the bank said in a statement were "personal reasons".

Jim Brown, Ulster's Kiwi chief executive, said McManus had "played a major role in transforming our overall business". Molloy, he added had "made a very significant contribution to the bank through a number of senior roles over the last 25 years, most recently undertaking the active management of our problem lending portfolio".

There is no suggestion that their exits are related to Ulster's IT meltdown.

However, the departure of two so senior executives is likely to impact Brown's plans to restructure the business by selling down its property book and concentrating lending on export, agriculture and other trading companies.

Molloy, head of Ulster's wealth management division from 2006, was responsible for advising Brown on what the bank needed to do to survive in Ireland's deepening recession while McManus had huge banking experience.

The departures sparked internal rumours about what the bank's parent the Royal Bank of Scotland planned to do next. Ulster Bank's chief executive of corporate markets Robert Gallagher left last September and John McGrane, its ex-head of product and services sales, secured a High Court order this summer blocking the bank from dismissing him.

Sunday Indo Business