AIB lures Tesco Ireland executive to chief people officer role

Appointment leaves the bank with a gender-balanced leadership for the first time

AIB chief executive Colin Hunt has hired a senior Tesco Ireland executive, Geraldine Casey, as his chief people officer, establishing a gender balance on his executive committee and filling a key role as he eyes job cuts to rein-in costs.

Ms Casey, who joined Tesco Ireland almost 19 years ago on a graduate programme, held a number of senior positions in the retailing group before joining its leadership team in 2014 when she became people and IT director. She also assumed responsibility for the business’s corporate affairs team earlier this year.

The appointment completes the 10-member executive team of Mr Hunt, who took over as group CEO in March, leaving the bank with a gender-balanced leadership for the first time.

Ms Casey joins AIB at a time when four of the Irish banks are planning what’s likely to be the biggest round job cuts in the industry since the State was in the middle of an international bailout programme, as the industry grapples with ultra-low interest rates, slower-than-expected loan book growth and lenders seek to glean the benefits from massive IT spending in recent years.


Hiring freeze

Mr Hunt signalled in October that he expected to eliminate 1,000 jobs from AIB’s almost 10,000-strong workforce by the end of 2022. The bank, which is in the middle of a hiring freeze, launched a voluntary redundancy scheme targeting 200 positions across its problem loans, mortgages and consumer credit businesses the same month.

October also saw the CEO put an initial stamp on his executive committee, naming Jim O'Keeffe as the bank's new managing director for retail banking. The division's previous incumbent, Robert Mulhall, has been selected to take charge of the UK business, succeeding Brendan O'Connor, who had signalled earlier this year he was leaving the bank.

The overhaul included the appointment of Mary Whitelaw as director of corporate affairs and strategy. Ms Whitelaw has held a number of senior positions since joining the bank in 2007, most recently chief of staff.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times