FBD chief Fiona Muldoon cleared after inquiry into internal complaint

Report says CEO has ‘full confidence and support of the chairman and the board’

CEO of FBD Insurance Fiona Muldoon: cleared of an internal allegation made against her. Photo Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

CEO of FBD Insurance Fiona Muldoon: cleared of an internal allegation made against her. Photo Nick Bradshaw for The Irish Times

 

FBD Holdings chief executive Fiona Muldoon has been cleared of an internal allegation made against her.

In a statement to investors after the close of the stock market on Monday, FBD said the investigation, which was carried out by law firm William Fry, had concluded.

“Further to its announcement of June 29th, the board of FBD Holdings plc today announces the conclusion of an independent investigation into internal allegations made against the chief executive,” it said. “The allegations have not been upheld. The chief executive, Fiona Muldoon, and her management team will continue to develop the business of FBD for the benefit of customers, shareholders and staff with the full confidence and support of the chairman and the board.”

Shares in FBD had closed up 2.9 per cent in Dublin on Monday to €10.50.

It is understood that the non-executive directors of the board, led by chairman Liam Herlihy, had pressed for the investigation to be completed within a matter of weeks in order to draw a line under the matter.

Complaint

The investigation was reportedly carried out on foot of a recent complaint by the company’s human resources director, Sarah Ryan, against Ms Muldoon.

However, the source of the complaint – or its details – were never confirmed by either the company or Ms Ryan. She had joined FBD last September from Permanent TSB.

When the complaint was made, FBD, as Ireland’s only publicly-quoted domestic insurance company, decided to create an “insider list” of individuals that were aware of the potentially market-moving matter.

Ms Muldoon joined FBD from the Central Bank of Ireland in March 2015 where she had been head of banking supervision since 2011. While in that role, she took the banks to task for failing to tackle the problem of mortgage arrears.

Before her stint as a regulator, she spent 18 years with global insurance group XL, including seven years in Bermuda.

Streamlining

Ms Muldoon joined FBD as chief financial officer following a number of profit warnings and disappointing financial results at the company.

She was named interim chief executive in July in 2015, succeeding Andrew Langford, before securing the top job on a permanent basis three months later.

Ms Muldoon streamlined the business and replaced virtually its entire executive team. She also renewed FBD’s focus on the prices it charged and the risks it took on.

The insurer this year paid its first dividend since 2014, as profits surged last year to €49.7 million, up from €11.4 million in 2016.

That followed a period of heavy restructuring at the company, including the sale of property investments, scaling back the use of insurance brokers, hiking premiums, and closing the company’s defined pension plan to future accrual.

FBD’s workforce has fallen by 15 per cent since 2015.