Ireland’s AIB Said to Pick Byrne as CEO; Seeks ECB Permission

Pedestrians Pass a Branch of Allied Irish Banks Plc in Dublin

A logo sits above automated teller machines as pedestrians pass a branch of Allied Irish Banks Plc (AIB) in Dublin.

Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Allied Irish Banks Plc intends to promote retail and business unit head Bernard Byrne to chief executive officer, and is seeking permission from regulators for the move, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Byrne’s name has been given to the European Central Bank’s banking supervision unit for confirmation and the timing of approval is not yet clear, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the process is not yet complete.

Officials from AIB, the central bank and finance ministry in Dublin and the ECB in Frankfurt declined to comment. Byrne didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Ireland’s largest state-owned bank has been searching for a new CEO since January, when David Duffy said he was leaving to join National Australia Bank Ltd.’s Clydesdale Bank. The new CEO is set to lead the bank back to private ownership, with Finance Minister Michael Noonan saying in February that the government may start selling its stake as soon as October.

The bank identified Byrne, 46, as the leading internal candidate two months ago, a person familiar with the matter said on Feb. 27. A chartered accountant, Byrne joined AIB in 2010 as chief financial officer, after working with Ireland’s state-owned Electricity Supply Board. He joined AIB’s board of the bank in July 2011.

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