Richie Boucher tells BoI staff he has treatable cancer

Chief executive says he will oversee publication of interim results on August 1st

Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher has been diagnosed with cancer. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher has been diagnosed with cancer. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Fri, Jul 11, 2014, 18:02

Bank of Ireland chief executive Richie Boucher has been diagnosed with cancer. Staff at the bank were informed of his illness after stock markets had closed today.

In his statement to staff, Mr Boucher said: “I recently underwent my annual routine medical check-up and during the course of this an early stage one cancerous polyp was identified in my colon. My doctor has advised me that this can be successfully removed through a standard medical procedure.”

Mr Boucher said he would work through July and will oversee the publication of its interim results on August 1st. He will undergo his procedure next month and expects to return to work in September after a period of recuperation.

He said the strength of the group’s senior executive team meant his “short absence” would not adversely impact on the “strong progress” that the bank has made in recent years.

Mr Boucher joined Bank of Ireland in 2003 as head of corporate banking from Royal Bank of Scotland. He was appointed as chief executive of its retail financial services division in Ireland in 2006 before succeeding Brian Goggin as group chief executive in early 2009 following the collapse of the financial sector in Ireland.

He is credited with having returned Bank of Ireland to profitability this year and taking it to the point where it is once again generating capital. The Zambian-born executive is currently overseeing a plan for €33 billion in “new” lending in Ireland out to 2017, with 40 per cent of this in mortgages.

Mr Boucher also persuaded a consortium of international investors, including high-profile US-based investors Wilbur Ross and Prem Watsa, to take a substantial stake in the bank in 2011, thereby avoiding majority ownership by the State.

Last year, Bank of Ireland arranged for the repayment of the State’s contingent capital notes, and its preference shares. The State now owns 14 per cent of the bank currently valued at about €1.1 billion.

Under his leadership, Bank of Ireland has repaid about €5.9 billion to the State in return for its €4.7 billion bailout post the crash of the economy in late 2008.