Francesca McDonagh to step down as Bank of Ireland CEO

Francesca McDonagh will step down as CEO of the Bank of Ireland after four and a half years in the role.

The bank announced to its shareholders after the close of business on Tuesday that Ms. McDonagh will step down from her post and will also step down from the bank’s board. She will leave the bank in September for, it is understood, another job at another European financial institution.

“A process will now begin to name his successor,” the bank said.

“Francesca has been an exceptional CEO of the Bank of Ireland,” said the bank’s president, Patrick Kennedy. “She has driven, with ambition and commitment, a clear strategic focus on transformation, service improvement and business growth.”

Mrs McDonagh said she is leaving the bank “with a heavy heart, I am proud of all we have achieved”.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe wished Ms McDonagh well, saying the bank had “thrived” under her leadership: “She was instrumental in driving a change in culture within the bank, seeing through the program of IT transformation and also customers and the country navigate through the recent Covid-19 crisis.”

first female boss

Ms McDonagh, a London-born Oxford University graduate of Irish descent, was the Bank of Ireland’s first female CEO when she was appointed in October 2017 to succeed Richie Boucher. She previously worked in a variety of senior positions for HSBC.

Within weeks of her arrival at the bank, she found herself embroiled in the then-ongoing tracker mortgage crisis, after the government called the heads of all Irish banks to meetings to pressure them to resolve the customer problem. that had been put. at the wrong rates.

Earlier this month, Ms. McDonagh announced the bank’s first share buyback since 2004. She has hired UBS to oversee the €50m share buyback. In February, the bank reported a net profit of €1.05 billion in 2021, compared to a loss of €707 million in 2020.

Among the major transactions overseen by Ms McDonagh was the Bank of Ireland’s deal last October to buy KBC Ireland’s €8.8bn loan portfolio, as well as take over its €4.4bn deposit portfolio. Both KBC and Ulster Bank are exiting the Irish market, creating uncertainty for hundreds of thousands of customers.

Salary cap

Ms McDonagh was paid close to €1m in 2020, the most recent year for which her salary details are available. Irish banks have repeatedly lobbied the government in recent years to relax the state-imposed cap on bankers’ salaries, arguing that it hinders institutions in finding and retaining talented executives.

Ms McDonagh’s departure comes as the state continues to slowly sell off its stake in the bank by trickling down shares on the stock market. Since last summer, the state’s stake in the bank has fallen from nearly 14 percent to below the 5 percent reportable threshold.

Taxpayers have so far received some €6.5bn of the €4.7bn the state spent to bail out the bank in the financial crisis. Ms McDonagh recently said that she hoped the bank would be back in private ownership by next year.

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