DUBLIN, Ireland - For the first time in history, a major Irish bank, the Bank of Ireland, will be led by a woman.
Following the current CEO, Richie Boucher’s announcement earlier this year, of leaving the bank after serving for 14 years - the Bank of Ireland announced that HSBC’s Francesca McDonagh had been appointed as his replacement.
McDonagh, who holds one of the most senior jobs in Britain and Europe at HSBC, will take over from Boucher in October.
Further, she is set to also take up the position of Executive Director on the Board of the Group.
A spokesperson at Bank of Ireland said, “The appointment of the new CEO of Bank of Ireland is welcomed by the Minister for Finance.”
Meanwhile, Bank of Ireland Governor Archie Kane said, "The Board conducted a thorough search and from a strong field selected this exceptional candidate. I am very pleased that we have been successful in attracting a person of the calibre and experience of Francesca to the Group. She has been with HSBC for 20 years, during which time she has held a number of senior leadership roles in the bank across seven different countries. We very much look forward to working with her over the coming years as she leads the bank and its experienced management team into the next phase of its development."
Kane also added that Boucher "has been an outstanding success at Bank of Ireland, and leaves the Bank in a much stronger position than he inherited when he took up the role of CEO in February 2009.”
Further, Finance Minister Michael Noonan indicated that any new “high-calibre external candidate” at Bank of Ireland would be paid the same as the outgoing chief executive.
In 2016, Boucher received 958,000 euros, including a 234,000 euros pension contribution.
In October, Boucher will also resign as a director of the company.
The bank, which is still 14 percent owned by the Government reportedly received 4.8 billion euros from taxpayers.
It was also the only Irish lender to avoid outright nationalisation or closure.
Being one of the leading female bankers in Europe, 42-year-old McDonagh has been a campaigner against sexism in banking.
She has previously helped advise the U.K. government initiatives to encourage more women to top jobs in the city.
In her current role as HSBC’s head for retail banking and wealth management division in the U.K. and Europe, she is responsible for 1,000 branches, as well as M&S Bank that is owned by HSBC - where she has worked for 20 years now.
She has also previously held top positions at HSBC in the Middle East, North Africa, and Hong Kong.