Former NTMA chief John Corrigan dies unexpectedly

Corrigan credited with helping pave the way for the government to return to international debt markets after bailout

John Corrigan, who led the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) during much of the financial crisis, has died unexpectedly.

Mr Corrigan, who turned 76 this week, led the NTMA between late 2009 and early 2015, a period which saw the agency preside over the setting up of the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) and the government being forced into a €67.5 billion international bailout as it was frozen out of the global debt markets, amid the cost of bank rescues and a slump in taxes following the property crash.

The executive led a strategy to maintain close contacts with international investors during the international bailout, resulting in the NTMA returning to debt markets in mid-2012 and paving the way for a successful exit from the European Union and International Monetary Fund aid programme at the end of 2013.

His death has been greeted with shock and sadness by friends and colleagues in Dublin’s financial community.


“John was a gentlemen and the country should be really grateful for the work that he did, not only during the financial crisis, but also the recovery,” said Furio Pietribiasi, chief executive of Dublin-based Mediolanum International Funds, where Mr Corrigan was a non-executive director until his death. “He was also a great adviser to many leaders in international financial services, including myself. I have lost a very good friend.”

NTMA chief executive Frank O’Connor said Mr Corrigan had “played a critical role in managing the State’s response to the financial crisis and, particularly, navigating the successful post-crisis return of the State to the international bond markets”.

“I want to express our shock and sadness at the sudden and untimely death of John. Our thoughts are with his family and on the terrible loss they have suffered,” he said.

Mr Corrigan joined the NTMA in 1991 as a director in its funding and debt-management unit, having previously worked at AIB Investment Managers.

In 2001 he was assigned responsibility in the NTMA for the National Pensions Reserve Fund, before taking up the group chief executive role eight years later, as the previous incumbent Michael Somers left the organisation.

Mr Corrigan, a married father of four, joined Davy as chairman in 2015 on retiring from the NTMA. He oversaw Davy putting itself on the market two years ago as the firm grappled with the fallout from a €4.1 million Central Bank fine relating to a bond trade dating back to 2014.

Bank of Ireland completed the purchase of Davy last summer, paving the way for Mr Corrigan to step down as chairman later in the year, to be succeeded by former Independent News & Media (INM) chief executive Vincent Crowley.

Davy chief executive Bernard Byrne said: “John was a highly respected business figure but he was also a superb human being. A man of tremendous insight, intellect and integrity, he will be sadly missed by all who knew him and benefited from his counsel and friendship.”

Brendan McDonagh, chief executive of Nama and former director of finance, technology and risk at the NTMA, said Mr Corrigan had made a “massive contribution” to the State and particularly to its recovery from the 2008 financial crisis.

“He was a man of exceptional ability and integrity combined with a sense of humour,” said Mr McDonagh. “He made a huge contribution to Nama where he was a founder member of the board and a huge support to me when the agency was being established.”

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times