Pepper picks Ulster Bank executive to lead Irish unit

US private equity firm KKR agreed to buy the Australian finance group last month

Cormac Ryan: Ulster Bank executive has been chosen to lead Pepper Group’s Irish unit. Photograph: Fennells

Cormac Ryan: Ulster Bank executive has been chosen to lead Pepper Group’s Irish unit. Photograph: Fennells


Australian financial firm Pepper Group, which is being acquired by US private equity giant KKR, has hired banking executive Cormac Ryan to head up its Irish business.

Mr Ryan joins Pepper from Royal Bank of Scotland’s Ulster Bank, where he held a number of senior roles, including that of chief operating officer of an internal bad bank, called RBS Capital Resolution.

He will replace Pepper Ireland chief executive Paul Doddrell, from October 2nd, as the outgoing chief executive takes on a role within the wider Pepper Group.

“Cormac joins at a time when Pepper is approaching its fifth anniversary in Ireland and the business is strongly positioned for continued growth and success, based on a clear strategy and plan,” said Michael Culhane, chief executive of Pepper Group, in a statement announcing the changes.

KKR said last month that it was fully committed to Pepper’s Irish business, which employs more than 400 people in Dublin and Shannon. KKR’s takeover of the group, valued at the equivalent of about €440 million, is set to close in the coming months.

Pepper was among an initial wave of overseas buyers of Irish assets at the peak of the crisis, buying GE Capital’s €600 million of subprime mortgages at 40 cent on the euro in a deal backed by Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs. It subsequently entered the business of managing and servicing loans of number of overseas banks who have been extracting themselves from the Irish market following the crash, as well as overseas buyers of loan portfolios in recent years.

The Irish unit is managing about €18 billion of loans, split between commercial and residential borrowings, for companies such as private equity firms Lone Star and CarVal, who have been active buyers of Irish loans recently, as well as Dankse Bank and Lloyds Banking Group, who have been retreating from the Republic.

More recently, Pepper Ireland entered the mortgage lending market and last year and has issued some €150 million worth of home loans.