Wednesday 13 December 2017

Ex-BoI chief has his timing down to a tee

RUB OF THE GREEN: Brian Goggin greeting Ronald Quinlan at Old Conna Golf Club in Co Wicklow last Thursday. Photo: Tony Gavin
RUB OF THE GREEN: Brian Goggin greeting Ronald Quinlan at Old Conna Golf Club in Co Wicklow last Thursday. Photo: Tony Gavin


HAD he still been around for Bank of Ireland's recent AGM, it's probably fair to say that the shareholders' anger -- and maybe even an egg or two -- would have been lobbed in his direction. But timing, as they say, is everything, and when it comes to former Bank of Ireland chief executive Brian Goggin, it would seem that timing is impeccable.

Indeed, only last Thursday as the bank ceded further control to its bondholders in a proposed €2bn debt-for-equity swap, Mr Goggin, who received an eye-watering pay package of €3.095m for his final year at its helm, took to the freshly mown fairways and the carefully manicured greens at Old Conna Golf Club in Co Wicklow.

Looking fresh and fit, Mr Goggin -- who these days earns his crust advising US private equity giant Apollo Management on the purchase of distressed property loans from banks around the world -- was in the Garden County along with his neighbours from Foxrock for the annual golf outing of the Avonmore Residents' Association.

Given the highly charged nature of the business in which he now operates, Thursday's event no doubt gave Mr Goggin a welcome opportunity to unwind in company more relaxed and certainly more fragrant than that he encounters in the boardroom.

Not that the 59-year-old businessman had left his competitive instincts at home. Indeed, according to one of Mr Goggin's neighbours, he and his lady golfing partners won Thursday's competition and were awarded two bottles of wine each at the informal prize-giving ceremony.

Judging by the warm smile and polite handshake with which the former bank chief greeted me upon the completion of his round, the warm glow of his albeit minor victory was already setting in.

Asked for his thoughts on the fate that had befallen Bank of Ireland since his early departure in February 2009, however, Mr Goggin (who, it should be said, also has the benefit of a €650,000 annual pension from his time there) was less receptive, saying: "I don't want to talk about that."

And with that, he was off to the clubhouse with his golf bag in tow, leaving his golfing partners to take up the defence on his behalf.

"This man is my guest and this is my golf course. Now I would ask you to leave," offered one, as her brow knit itself up in annoyance.

Happily, the Avonmore Residents' discomfort was short-lived, with one gladly informing the Sunday Independent that a "splendid evening" was had by all with a post-match dinner held at Green's Restaurant in the Leopardstown Inn that night.

Sunday Independent

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