Senior banker and Arthur Cox partner advising Lenihan

 

MINISTER FOR Finance Brian Lenihan is working with a core team of top public service advisers while dealing with the ongoing crisis in the banking sector.

He is also receiving advice from the managing partner of Arthur Cox solicitors, Padraig O’Riordan, as well as from Henrietta Baldock, a senior member of the banking team within the Merrill Lynch office in London.

While Ms Baldock is understood to be travelling from London for pre-arranged meetings, Mr O’Riordan is understood to be playing a more hands-on role. One of the advantages of using Ms Baldock’s services is that her firm is providing advice to many of Mr Lenihan’s counterparts around the globe.

The top figures working with Mr Lenihan from the public service are: David Doyle, secretary general of the Department of Finance; the governor of the Central Bank John Hurley and the chief executive of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) Dr Michael Somers.

Mr O’Riordan is the independent chairman of the Government’s Advisory Forum on Financial Legislation. He is a director of Paddy Power and TVC Holdings.

A graduate of UCC, King’s Inns and Harvard Law school, he has been managing partner of the Arthur Cox since 2003. He began his practice with a Wall Street law firm before joining Arthur Cox in 1993 to run its New York office.

Ms Baldock was a member of the Merrill Lynch team that advised a banking consortium that was involved in the world’s largest bank takeover in 2007. Royal Bank of Scotland, Banco Santander, and Benelux-based Fortis bought Dutch bank ABN Amro for €71.2 billion, with Merrill Lynch advising the purchasers.

Earlier this week, Royal Bank of Scotland said it would be writing off goodwill of £15 to £20 billion arising from its purchase of parts of ABN Amro. Mr Hurley has been governor of the Central Bank since March 2002, having been secretary general of the Department of Finance before that. He had earlier served as secretary general in the Department of Health.

Earlier this month, Mr Lenihan announced that he will request President Mary McAleese to re-appoint Mr Hurley on the completion of his term of office in March of this year. Mr Lenihan is anxious to ensure continuity and leadership during the current disruption in financial markets.

The director general of the Central Bank, Tony Grimes, is also working closely with Mr Lenihan as is Con Horan, prudential director of the financial regulator’s office. Dr Somers was appointed to the post of chief executive of the NTMA in December 1990. Before that he held the post of secretary, national debt management, in the Department of Finance. He was appointed secretary at the Department of Defence in 1985. Most of his previous experience had been in the Department of Finance and he also spent a period in the Central Bank.

Also working with Mr Lenihan from the NTMA are John Corrigan, director of the National Pensions Reserve Fund, and Brendan McDonagh, director finance, technology and risk.

Mr Doyle was appointed secretary general of the Department of Finance in July 2006. He joined the Department of Finance in 1975 and has worked in the public expenditure division, the budget and economic division and the banking, finance and international division.

Also advising Mr Lenihan from the department are Kevin Cardiff, second secretary in the financial services division, and William Beausang and Ann Nolan, also of that division. Staff numbers in the financial services division in the department have doubled since last September, with the staff deployed from other areas.

The remuneration arrangements with Mr O’Riordan and Ms Baldock are not known.