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€500,000 pay cap could be waived for new BoI boss

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan has indicated that he won’t block Bank of Ireland offering more than the €500,000-a-year pay cap to attract a replacement for outgoing CEO Richie Boucher.

The pay cap was brought in after the crash and has not been relaxed, even at Bank of Ireland which has repaid its State bailout.

It never applied to Richie Boucher, whose €958,000 pay package last year was exempt from the salary restriction because his pay was agreed before the cap.

Analysts have said the cap could limit the field of potential candidates for the BoI top job. Mr Noonan said he has not been asked to revise the salary cap, but indicated he would be open to it in the case of Bank of Ireland, where the Government is “only a 14pc investor”.

The minister has the authority to waive the rule. He said that he would be open to paying close to Mr Boucher’s current rate – for an external candidate

“Nobody has brought it up with me. We’ll see who the replacement is,” he said at an event at the Central Bank in Dublin.

“If they appoint somebody significant from outside, I think the parameters for negotiating pay will be somewhere in line with Mr Boucher’s case.”

The search for a replacement for Mr Boucher is under way. The possibility of different salary scales for internal and external candidates could complicate that picture.

Runners and riders for the job include internal candidates Liam McLoughlin, head of the retail business in Ireland, and Andrew Keating, BoI’s chief financial officer (CFO).

The bank’s non-executive deputy governor Patrick Kennedy, a former Paddy Power CEO, is also tipped as a potential candidate.

Outsiders in the frame include John Hourican, who heads Bank of Cyprus and would have to free himself from his contract to take the post; Jim Brown, the Dublin-based Kiwi who ran Ulster Bank until two years ago; and his successor at Ulster Bank, Gerry Mallon.

FBD Insurance CEO Fiona Muldoon, also a director of Bank of Ireland, and AIB CFO Mark Bourke are also potentially in the frame.
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