RBS to tap in­ter­nal ranks for new Ul­ster Bank chief

Irish Independent - Business Week - - BUSINESSWEEK - Gretchen Frie­mann

Royal Bank of Scot­land in­tends to para­chute an in­ter­nal ex­ec­u­tive into the top job at Ul­ster Bank fol­low­ing Gerry Mal­lon’s shock res­ig­na­tion last month.

Ac­cord­ing to se­nior sources the UK bank­ing gi­ant, which re­mains over 70pc owned by the Bri­tish tax-payer, favours a re­place­ment leader from within its own vast ranks.

Ul­ster Bank de­clined to com­ment on RBS’s search strat­egy but said a “re­cruit­ment process was un­der­way” for Mr Mal­lon’s re­place­ment. A spokesper­son said: “Gerry will re­main in the role while he serves his no­tice.”

Mr Mal­lon’s de­ci­sion to quit the or­gan­i­sa­tion and take up the helm at Tesco Bank, a UK-based busi­ness, a mere 18 months in to his ten­ure at Ul­ster sparked spec­u­la­tion about the health of the lender’s cor­po­rate cul­ture.

It also fol­lowed in the wake of Liam McLough­lin’s sud­den de­par­ture at Bank of Ire­land.

The head of re­tail bank­ing, who oc­cu­pied the post for seven years and who made an un­suc­cess­ful ap­pli­ca­tion for the CEO role, left the group’s head­quar­ters last week. The bank said Mr McLough­lin quit to “pur­sue other in­ter­ests”.

But the string of high-level ex­its cap a tor­rid pe­riod for Ir­ish banks as the full ex­tent of the tracker mort­gage cri­sis be­came clear last year, pro­vok­ing a fu­ri­ous pub­lic back­lash.

The sec­tor’s cor­po­rate cul­ture is also in fo­cus af­ter the re­sults of a Bank of Ire­land em­ployee sur­vey – the first con­ducted at the lender in al­most a decade – re­vealed a cor­ro­sive at­mos­phere in some sec­tions of the group with em­ploy­ees re­port­ing low lev­els of mo­ti­va­tion and a lack of be­lief in lead­er­ship.

Doc­u­ments ob­tained by the Ir­ish In­de­pen­dent show th­ese sen­ti­ments were most acute in the re­tail divi­sion, where a search is now un­der­way for Mr McLough­lin’s re­place­ment.

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