CORMAC McCarthy is to step down as chief executive of Ulster Bank, after nearly a decade in charge, by the turn of the year.
In a statement yesterday, Mr McCarthy said the move was entirely his decision and will give him the opportunity to seek new opportunities.
It is understood that the board of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which ultimately owns Ulster Bank, tried to change his mind and persuade him to remain. The group has initiated the search for Mr McCarthy’s successor and he will remain in his two current roles (he also acts as deputy chief executive of RBS’s British retail banking division) until successors have been identified. That is likely to see him formally leaving the group early next year.
Ulster Bank was not commenting on any speculation about the identity of Mr McCarthy’s successor, yesterday, and whether the replacement would be Irish or foreign. They did, however, reiterate that the bank remains a core part of the RBS group and that the parent company remains happy with the Irish division.
All in all, this development seems to be a personal decision by Mr McCarthy and not anything central to future planning for Ireland by RBS.
An element of RBS’s total £3.6 billion loss last year was Ulster Bank’s own tale of woe, which included a €414m loss and a £550m increase in loan losses, although customer account levels actually rose by 3%.
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