Sunday 25 February 2018

John Moran: Top civil servant at Finance Department quits

John Moran former General Secretary of the Department of Finance
John Moran former General Secretary of the Department of Finance

Donal O’Donovan

THE Secretary General of the Department of Finance has quit the role.

John Moran (48) was appointed secretary general of the Department Finance in 2012 and is seen as a close ally of Minister Michael Noonan.

He previously worked as head of the banking unit at the Department, which he joined from the Central Bank. Before that Mr Moran’s background was in the private sector, as a senior banker and corporate lawyer working mostly outside Ireland.

He was the first “outsider” ever appointed to the top job in the Department of Finance.

Minister Noonan and staff at the Department are understood to have been informed of the decision earlier today.

In a statement Michael Noonan said he accepted Mr Moran’s resignation with “great regret.”

“Since his appointment as Secretary General he has been involved in every significant decision taken by me throughout the bail out programme, including those decisions which saw Ireland successfully exiting the programme,” Michael Noonan said..

“I valued his counsel during those very difficult times and I wish John every success in the future,” he said.

Mr Moran was brought into government circles after working in the private sector.

His primary role was responsibility for all banking policy matters, management of the state's shareholding in banks and reform and reorganisation of the Irish banking sector after they were rescued.

Mr Moran marked a massive departure from previous government policy and appointment of department heads in that he was effectively an outsider, he was happy to discuss financial matters with private sector groups, he spoke publicly and he did not see the job as a long term career.

He first worked as the second secretary general in the Department of Finance where he was head of the banking division.

He had been brought into that office on secondment from the Central Bank, which he joined in 2010 and where he was head of wholesale banking supervision.

Mr Moran replaced Kevin Cardiff, who left the post to become Ireland's representative on the European Court of Auditors.

His CV includes time spent working for Zurich Capital Markets in Dublin, Sydney, London and New York, where he rose to chief executive, resident solicitor for law firm McCann FitzGerald in New York, GE Capital Aviation Services/GPA Group and as an associate attorney with Sullivan & Cromwell in New York in the late 1980s.

He left the financial world in 2005 to work in the Languedoc region in France where he ran a juice bar.

In an email to Department of Finance staff announcing his resignation, Mr Moran said he would continue as secretary general until his successor was appointed.

Effectively he said his work in assisting the recovery of the Irish banking sector was now done.

"I returned to Ireland in 2010 wanting to assist in the task of restoring Ireland's destroyed banking sector and economy to health. I had always viewed this as a mission with a fixed purpose not a long-term venture," Mr Moran said.

"I would never then have expected to be asked to play such a central role and have been very honoured to play my part as head of this Department, working with you all, other public sector colleagues, the Minister and the Government.

"With the tremendous results captured in our annual report published this morning and the successful completion of last week's first post programme troika mission, for which I thank you all, I believe it is now an opportune time to hand over the baton to a successor who can continue the job well under way."

In a speech last Friday Mr Moran said he believed progress towards stabilisation of the Irish banks was now at the very high end of the Government's expectations when restructuring plans were put forward in March 2011.

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