The only chief still in place in wake of bank crisis steps down from IL&P

GILLIAN Bowler is to step down as chairwoman and a director of Irish Life & Permanent in the new year after a successor is appointed. She is the last of the bank chairmen to resign in the wake of the 2008 banking crisis.

Ms Bowler faced strong pressure to go last year when it emerged IL&P had made a controversial loan of €8 billion in late September 2008 that allowed the disgraced Anglo Irish Bank to falsify its balance sheet for that financial year.

At last year’s stormy AGM she refused calls from shareholders to step down over the Anglo debacle.

In a statement yesterday the group said Ms Bowler informed the group’s board of her decision to go at a meeting on Tuesday.

Appointed chairwoman in 2004, Ms Bowler said now was a good time to step down and to bring in a new name that can bring a fresh approach to the job.

IL&P chief executive Kevin Murphy said Ms Bowler had played a very important role in helping the group to navigate the crisis of recent years.

He added the group’s board has already begun the process of finding a successor and it hopes to have the post filled as early as possible in 2011.

IL&P has not been the subject of a bank bailout by the state due to its lack of exposure to the inflated property market, but in September, the Financial Regulator said the group had to raise €145 million in funding by May 31 next year to meet stricter capital requirements to meet future funding emergencies if and when they arise.

Ms Bowler, who is the former head of Budget Travel, is not retiring from the world of business however. She recently set up, a new travel company for the Irish market.

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