David Drumm, who took over as chief executive in 2005, said claims by his predecessor, Seán FitzPatrick, that he took a back-seat role after moving to the role of chairman were “bullshit”.
In a book published this week, Mr FitzPatrick claims he left the day-to-day management of the bank to Drumm when he moved from chief executive to chairman in January 2005.
He told the authors of The FitzPatrick Tapes he did not become aware of the bank’s dire funding position until just before the financial crisis peaked in September 2008.
He said the funding problem “wasn’t belted home to the board” before then and Drumm was “running his own show”.
But Mr Drumm, who now lives in Boston, told the Irish Times he wanted to “set the record straight” and insisted that Mr FitzPatrick “was all over” the running of the bank.
“It is not credible that he didn’t know anything about the bank’s funding problem through 2008. That is just an unbelievable statement to make,” he said. “He was in my office three to four times a day lecturing me about what I needed to do.”
Mr Drumm also claimed he was not keen on taking over the chief executive role from Mr FitzPatrick as he didn’t want “the public profile that came with it,” but that he was “pushed” to do so by Mr FitzPatrick.
“I would not have allowed my name to go forward for the position if Seán had not pushed me into it; Seán usually got what he wanted,” he said. “He had total control of the board.”
According to Drumm’s record of events, FitzPatrick became more dominant at the bank as the crisis deteriorated in 2008. He claims FitzPatrick “more or less took charge again” following the failure of US bank Bear Stearns in March 2008 as Anglo’s share price was targeted by short-sellers.
“Seán is a very capable, driven and fastidious operator, and unmatched in Irish banking. But he was also very controlling,” said Mr Drumm.
“He had an office in the bank just down the hall from me and began to be there in the bank every day,” said Drumm.
“Perhaps his instincts kicked in and he could see trouble and couldn’t just stand by and be a spectator. Whatever his reasons, he became more and more involved, and began to interfere in the day-to-day executive decision-making.”