Bank of Ireland tech transformation chief Steve Collier departs

Bank’s chief operating officer Jackie Noakes given responsibility for €1.4bn tech overhaul

Bank of Ireland has announced a number of changes at senior level with chief operating officer Jackie Noakes being given overall responsibility for its €1.4 billion technology transformation programme.

This is in place of Steve Collier, the former National Australia Bank (NAB) executive who was only appointed in February 2018 to spearhead the initiative to overhaul the bank's ageing technology systems.

Bank of Ireland said Mr Collier is returning home to Australia now that testing of its new core banking systems programme has been completed. It said all IT systems are now to be brought under the leadership of Ms Noakes, who joined the bank last August from Legal & General where she previously led its $105 billion savings business.

The bank hired Swiss software company Temenos in late 2016 to replace its ageing banking systems. With business customers now being transferred on to Bank of Ireland’s new system, the focus is a switchover for retail with a new mobile app on the cards.


Mr Collier’s departure after just 18 months comes as a surprise. He was previously in charge of a 350 million Australian dollar (€217 million) annual budget as leader in core banking transformation at NAB between 2009 and 2017, and was hired by Bank of Ireland to oversee initial implementation of the technology overhaul, codenamed Project Omega.

In further moves Bank of Ireland also announced the appointment of chief strategy officer Mark Spain to its executive committee, where he will report directly to chief executive Francesca McDonagh. It said all aspects of the retail customer relationship are now to be managed within its retail Ireland division under Gavin Kelly, who was named as head of the group's largest division in place of Liam McLoughlin, in March 2018.

The bank said the move would ensure a “streamlined approach to enhance customer service, avoid duplication, and ensure clear accountability”.

“These changes support the next phase of our group transformation. Unifying all IT systems change under Jackie Noakes and giving clear responsibility for the retail customer relationship to Gavin Kelly simplifies our organisation and enhances our focus,” said Ms McDonagh.

Bank of Ireland originally announced that it was spending €900 million on the overhaul of its technology systems. It later increased this figure to €1.4 billion between 2016 and 2021, to include “culture, systems and business model”. This included an additional €250 million to “deepen the transformation of our IT systems” and the same amount to “broaden the extent of transformation to deliver business model benefits and accelerate the reduction in our cost base”.

These latest leadership changes come just a week after the bank announced that its group finance officer Andrew Keating was leaving the company. Mr Keating is moving to a senior position with CRH, the Irish building materials group with extensive operations globally.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist