The Government yesterday said it had nominated Kevin Cardiff as the Irish member of the European Court of Auditors.
Although the position is a plum appointment with a salary understood to be in excess of €205,000, Mr Cardiff’s departure will be seen as a statement from the Coalition that it wants new leadership in finance.
Mr Cardiff, who has been in the department since 1987, worked closely with the then finance minister Brian Lenihan when the banking crisis erupted in 2008.
He was made secretary general of the department in January of last year and is paid about €200,000.
But the reputation of the department and the previous government took a massive hit when the country entered into the bailout last November.
When Fine Gael and Labour were negotiating a programme for government, both of the parties received a briefing from department officials, led by Mr Cardiff.
Subsequently, the Coalition partners decided it would be best for new leadership to take the department in a different direction.
Mr Cardiff will replace Eoin O’Shea, whose term ends next February. A confirmation process will take place which should prove a formality, with Mr Cardiff expected to begin a six-year term in March.
His replacement will be filled through an open process, a Government spokesman said.