AIB chief tells staff they should be ‘very proud’ on IPO day

Bernard Byrne recalls ‘difficult decisions’ as AIB returns to main stock markets

Bernard Byrne, the chief executive of AIB told staff they should be “very proud” after the government sold a stake in the bank. (Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times)

AIB's chief executive, Bernard Byrne, told staff on Friday they should be "very proud" after the Government sold a 28.8 per cent stake in the bank to stock market investors, raising €3.4 billion.

“This marks a really satisfactory conclusion of what has been a long, difficult and complicated process,” Mr Byrne said in a video message sent to the bank’s 10,400 staff shortly after the final terms of the deal were announced through the stock exchange at 7am.

"It's a real validation of our strategy, of our focus on the customer and of our commitment to making AIB consistently better."

He said that the “landmark” day of AIB’s return to the main markets in Dublin and London is also a time to “remember all the difficult decisions that we had to make in the past.”


Bank Zachodni

AIB was forced to sell its profitable Polish unit, Bank Zachodni WBK, its 24 per cent stake in US bank M&T Bank and some other assets to raise money in 2010 to limit a taxpayer bailout to €20.8 billion. The bank was taken over by the Governent two days before Christmas in 2010.

Over the past four years, 7,400 AIB employees left the company, many under a voluntary redundancy programme, though the organisation also hired 4,400 people during the period, resulting in a net decrease of 3,000.

“Now we are in a position where the bank that we’ve been building, the bank that we’ve asked everyone to believe in, is clearly one that investors believe they can invest in,” said Mr Byrne, who joined the bank in 2010 and became its chief executive two years’ ago.

“Now, we need to move on. We’ve new challenges but there are also new opportunities.”

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times