Willie Walsh to chair new NTMA board

Government completes early repayment of IMF loans and announces new heads for NTMA and Strategic Banking Corporation

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the new NTMA board would continue to oversee attempts to reduce the national debt to below 100 per cent of GDP by 2018

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the new NTMA board would continue to oversee attempts to reduce the national debt to below 100 per cent of GDP by 2018

 

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) has completed the early repayment of €9 billion of IMF loans that is expected to result in a saving of more than €150 million in interest payments in 2015 and €750 million over the lifetime of the loans.

The announcement was made by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and coincides with the establishment of a new board of the NTMA, which will be chaired by former Aer Lingus chief executive Willie Walsh.

The IMF repayment comes a month after Swedish MPs voted to allow Ireland to retire a large portion of the €22.5 billion debt it owes the organisation ahead of schedule.

Sweden’s permission for the IMF transaction was required because the country, which does not use the single currency, gave a total of €600 million in bilateral loans to Ireland under the €67.5 billion bailout agreement in 2010.

The Government is expected to repay a further €9 billion of the IMF debt early next year.

Mr Noonan also confirmed on Thursday that Nick Ashmore will be the first chief executive of the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI). The corporation, which was launched last month, is to make up to €5 billion in cheap, longer-term loans available to small and medium-sized businesses over five years.

Mr Ashmore is currently project director of the SBCI and prior to takingup this role, served as deputy director of the National Pensions Reserve Fund.

The Minister for Finance said the new NTMA board would continue to oversee attempts to reduce the national debt to below 100 per cent of GDP by 2018.

“I am confident that this new board has the skills, competencies and expertise to oversee the NTMA,” he said.

Mr Walsh, who is currently chief executive of International Airlines Group, will chair the board for a five-year term. Other new members include Susan Webb, who is the managing director of Pfizer international treasury centre in Dublin, Mary Walsh, a partner at PwC and an independent member of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), Maeve Carton, head of finance at CRH, and Brendan McDonagh, former chief executive of HSBC North America.

Ex-officio members include current board chairman John Corrigan, who will be replaced by Conor O’Kelly on his appointment as chief executive of the NTMA, Derek Moran, secretary general at the Department of Finance, and Robert Watt, secretary general of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.