AIB UK chief quits after unit restructuring

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AIB’s managing director for its UK unit, Robert Mulhall, plans to leave the group in the coming months, after overseeing a major restructuring of the division.

Mr Mulhall (47) has spent more than 25 years with the group since joining the bank in 1995, broken by a two-year gap between 2013 and 2015 when he worked with the advisory group Accenture in the United States.

The executive took charge of the bank’s UK division nearly two years ago and has overseen a review of its operations in light of Brexit. This led to the group’s exit from the SME lending market in Britain and the closure of eight of its 15 remaining retail branches in Northern Ireland last year.

The bank is cutting 300 jobs following a deal in November to sell its £600m (€719m) small business loan portfolio to London-based challenger lender Allica Bank, cutting the UK workforce at around 600.

AIB’s exit from the labour-intensive SME segment of the UK market will save it around €35 ​​million in the coming years.

Mr Mulhall’s decision to leave AIB in the first half of this year was communicated internally late last year.

Sources familiar with his thinking said he should have committed to another two or three years to see the UK division through its next phase as it targets growth in business lending in niches such as renewable energy, manufacturing and warehousing in Britain. .

loan book

AIB UK’s loan portfolio stands at around £7 billion (€8.4 billion), following the sale of the SME portfolio, equivalent to around 14% of the loan portfolio of the group at large.

He is expected to enter the field of banking technology after leaving AIB.

Mr Mulhall led AIB’s Irish retail and commercial banking business between 2015 and early 2020 and was among the group’s senior executives to throw their hats in the ring as it searched for a new chief executive in late 2018, at following Bernard Byrne’s decision. leave. Colin Hunt, another internal candidate, was eventually selected.

“On behalf of everyone at AIB, I sincerely thank Robert for his significant contribution to the group during his first period with the bank from 1995 to 2013, and in particular during his six years of service since his return in 2015. “, said Mr Hunt in a statement in response to questions from The Irish Times.

“He has shown tremendous commitment, passion and leadership – always putting the customer at the center of his decision-making.”

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