• Aldermore director Robert Sharpe set to join lender in April
  • Ex-Lazard banker Christopher Fisher to step down as chairman

Bank of Ireland hired a director of British competitor Aldermore Group Plc as chairman of its U.K. business as the Dublin-based lender seeks to grow its business in the country, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Robert Sharpe is scheduled to join in April, said the people who asked not to be identified because the decision isn’t public and is subject to regulatory approval. A spokeswoman for the company in London said in an e-mailed statement that the lender is going through a “process to select a new chairman” and that it would be “inappropriate to comment further until this has been concluded.”

Bank of Ireland is one of the largest lenders in the U.K. behind the nation’s four biggest banks, with total assets of about 58.8 billion euros ($62.5 billion). It has a partnership that lets it take deposits on behalf of the British government-owned Post Office Ltd. and offer credit cards and loans for insurer AA Plc. The lender has appointed several independent directors in the U.K., including former Lloyds Banking Group Plc executive John Maltby.

Sharpe, who is also chairman of Islamic lender Al Rayan Bank Plc and a former chief executive of Bank of Ireland in the U.K., will replace Christopher Fisher, who’s stepping down as Bank of Ireland’s U.K. chairman after almost four years, according to one of the people. The bank’s spokeswoman said Fisher announced last year internally his decision to stand down in the first part of 2016.

Bank of Ireland may consider acquisitions in the U.K. once the company has clarity on the nation’s vote on staying in the European Union, Chief Executive Officer Richie Boucher said in February. The CEO has previously said the U.K. business turned from a “strategic conundrum” to an “opportunity” over the past years.

Attempts to reach Sharpe through Aldermore were unsuccessful.

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