FitzPatrick told gardaí he ‘never had any role in executive’ of Anglo from 2005
Former chairman did not have ‘a warm relationship’ with chief executive David Drumm
Former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Seán Fitzpatrick: told gardaí when he got news of the contracts for difference deal he asked if the investors were “people of substance”. Photograph: Collins Courts.
Former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Seán FitzPatrick told gardaí he was not trying to “detach” himself from the bank to save himself “from blame”, but he “never had any role in relation to the executive” from 2005 onwards, the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard yesterday.
Mr FitzPatrick told gardaí he had been the chief executive of Anglo from 1986 until January 2005 when he became chairman and David Drumm was appointed chief executive.
His role as chairman was to run the board, making sure it met at the right times, that topics discussed were appropriate and directors’ wishes were listened to. The board as a whole would agree a strategy for the bank, he said.
Asked by gardaí in interviews on March 18th, 2010, about his relationship with Mr Drumm, he said Mr Drumm “needed to make sure that all his executives knew that he was the man in charge. So therefore there was very little between us”.
“I was never in his house, he was never in my house, we never socialised; a professional relationship,” he said.
Asked by gardaí if Mr Drumm was arrogant, he said he wouldn’t have thought so.
He was a “very, very bright guy, very articulate”. He also had “a clear view of things” and he was “a good communicator”, but they didn’t have a warm relationship.
“He didn’t open up to me,” said Mr FitzPatrick.
Asked if he was a threat to Mr Drumm, Mr FitzPatrick said no.
He said he was “very, very careful not to undermine him” by trying to carry out an executive role and he did not try to second guess him.
“If I tried to run the show . . . there would have been murder because there would be divided loyalties,” said Mr FitzPatrick.
He said he was clear that he was to “step back” and Mr Drumm took charge.
“I had just turned 56, I had worked hard. I just felt I wanted to pass the baton to someone else. I’d done my time,” he told gardaí.
Gardaí put it to Mr FitzPatrick that it was
hard to believe that he took a back seat after “building the company from nothing to when it was worth hundreds of millions.”
He was “a very driven man” and “a very intelligent man” and it was hard to believe he did not have his “finger on the pulse” and “kept a tight rein”, suggested gardaí .
“Show me the proof of that,” responded Mr FitzPatrick . “I told . . . the truth all along.”
Asked again by gardaí if he was an intelligent man, he responded: “Oh absolutely.”
He said he was “not that stupid” that he would resign and then want to run the bank again.
He accepted that he probably continued to be seen as “the face of Anglo” after he stepped down as chief executive, but the executives at the bank would agree that he played no part in the day to day running.
“There was never any greyness,” he said.
“I would never have had any role in relation to the executive.”
The case continues.