Ulster Bank finds new CEO

Ulster Bank has ended its search for a new chief executive following Cormac McCarthy’s decision to stand down in July last year, after a decade with RBS Group.

McCarthy’s successor Jim Brown leaves his position as chief executive of retail and commercial markets for Asia at Royal Bank of Scotland to take up the new role on 11 April. He has been with the RBS Group, which owns Ulster Bank, for three years.

Brown’s appointment follows an announcement by McCarthy in July 2010 that he planned to leave his post as chief executive of First Active and Ulster Bank, and the RBS Group as a whole.

It is not known what McCarthy will go on to do next, but at the time he said he wanted to “pursue other interests”. He continues as deputy head of the UK retail business of RBS Group until the end of May.

New chief executive Brown will be tasked with cleaning up heavy losses suffered by the Irish bank since the financial crisis.

In 2010, Ulster Bank increased its impairment losses on the previous year by £512m, jumping up from £649m in 2009 to almost £1.2bn. Its operating losses also rose by £393m, from £368 in 2009 to £761m in 2010.

One of the more damaging former moves by Ulster Bank was acting as a primary lender to property developers the Taggart brothers. In October 2008, Taggart Holdings fell into administration with debts of £300m.

The latest appointment follows a wave of management changes at Ulster Bank this year. On 1 March 2011, Charles McManus left his role as chief financial officer at Royal Bank of Canada Europe to take up the same position at Ulster.

Prior to that, the bank gained a new chief executive of retail markets with the promotion of Richard Donnan, who has been with the Irish bank since 1989.

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