AIB Names Mulhall to Lead Largest Unit as Ireland Eyes Payback

  • Mulhall is returning to AIB from Accenture in New York
  • Irish government looking to recoup as much as $4.5 billion

Allied Irish Banks Plc appointed Robert Mulhall to lead the state-owned lender’s largest division as the government said it expects to recover as much as 4 billion euros ($4.5 billion) of the bank’s bailout before selling shares in the company next year.

Mulhall, who worked with AIB for 18 years before joining Accenture Plc in New York in 2013, is returning to the bank as director of Retail & Business Banking in Ireland next month, spokeswoman Niamh Hennessy said, confirming an internal announcement at the bank on Thursday. He succeeds Bernard Byrne, who took over as group chief executive officer in May.

The Retail & Business Banking unit was set up this year, encompassing the AIB operations most stricken by the nation’s real estate crisis that forced the lender into a 21 billion-euro bailout. It has also been at the center of the group’s efforts to return to profit, delivering more than three-quarters of AIB’s 1.2 billion-euro first-half operating profit.

Mulhall’s appointment comes after the government signaled it may not start selling shares in AIB until after national elections next year. Still, Finance Minister Michael Noonan told reporters on Thursday that he expects to recoup about 4 billion euros before selling a shares.

Noonan sees the initial payback coming from AIB redeeming the state’s 3.5 billion euros of referred stock and 1.6 billion euros of contingent convertible notes as well as the bank returning to paying dividends for the first time since 2008.

The plan, which may see some aid returning to the state by the year-end, would be subject to approval from the European Central Bank’s bank supervision unit, he said.