AIB chairman Richard Pym to step down in March

Brendan McDonagh has been appointed as deputy chair until a successor is chosen

As chairman of AIB Richard Pym repeatedly clashed with Government over the pay restrictions for bailed-out banks.  Photograph: Eric Luke

As chairman of AIB Richard Pym repeatedly clashed with Government over the pay restrictions for bailed-out banks. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

AIB chairman Richard Pym has signalled his intention to step down in March of next year. Mr Pym has been chairman of the bank since December 2014.

During his tenure, AIB returned to paying dividends to shareholders while undergoing an initial public offering, significant milestones in its recovery from the crash. It was also, however, embroiled in the ongoing tracker mortgage scandal.

As chairman of the bank, Mr Pym repeatedly clashed with Government over the pay restrictions for bailed-out banks, which saw his former chief executive Bernard Byrne exit last year.

Days before Mr Byrne quit, Mr Pym controversially claimed the pay caps had turned the bailed-out banks here into a “training ground” for bankers who then move to higher-paid roles with competitors.

An outspoken critic of Brexit, he has labelled Brexiteers as “headbangers” while saying said he would not hire a candidate with the “uncombed hair” and “racist language” of UK prime minister Boris Johnson.

Mr Pym said he intended to retire in March 2020 and “start a new phase” of his own activities.

“It has been an honour to serve as chairman over the last five years and to work in Ireland with some amazingly talented colleagues,” he said.

Next March

Mr Pym will step down following the approval of the bank’s annual report in March next year.

“As the strength of the board is assured through the addition of a number of recently announced non-executive directors and a robust succession plan for the years ahead, Richard has reviewed his commitments and concluded that it is the appropriate time to step down,” AIB said in a statement.

“He has led the AIB board and the group through a substantial period of change and was steadfast in striving toward rebuilding the public’s confidence and trust in AIB, maintaining a focus on our customers at all times in a simple and efficient way,” the bank said.

AIB chief executive Colin Hunt said Mr Pym had served AIB Group “with great distinction over the course of the past five years”.

‘Vitally important guide’

“Under his chairmanship, the bank has gained in strength and stability and is well positioned for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead,” Mr Hunt said. “At a personal level, Richard has been a vitally important guide since I rejoined AIB in 2016 and in particular since my appointment as CEO in March,” he added.

The bank said an announcement on Mr Pym’s successor would be made in due course. It has, meanwhile, appointed Brendan McDonagh to the role of deputy chair with immediate effect.