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AIB gives Nod to Foley’s Folly

Posted on: September 23rd, 2012

IT was one of those defining moments. I gasped when I heard the news. AIB, the barely breathing corpse of Irish banking, had seen the light. The board of the zombie bank had suffered a deathbed repentance. The country could yet be saved.

Last week, the news seeped through that AIB had appointed Thomas Foley to the board. I used to know Thomas Foley a little. The former US ambassador to Ireland was an ideal choice. He carried none of the normal, but fatally flawed, banking baggage borne by other nominees to Ireland’s bank boards.

AIB desperately needed an energetic American, an outsider with a business pedigree. Foley had been respected and popular during his short stint at the US embassy here. In 2009, he had returned to the US and got married.

We thought that his return home would be the last we would see of the US businessman. But no, AIB had done a good day’s work by enticing him back.

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