Shane Ross


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Is There Anybody In At The EBS?

Posted on: November 12th, 2007

All is calm at the good ship EBS. As the financial sector worldwide weathers a week of turmoil, Ireland‘s last mutual hardly notices. All is so calm that the EBS has still not found a new boss. Poor Ted McGovern announced his departure four months ago but the search for a successor has drawn a blank – no one wants Ted’s €760,000-a-year job.

A few weeks ago chairman Mark Moran told journalists that the appointment was “imminent.” Now he is muttering about January.

Strong rumours in the banking world suggest that the leading candidate has pulled out. Mark himself has stepped into the breach. He is not only chairman, but also acting chief executive. Bravo.

The society is safe. A real financial whizz-kid, Mark, from the Mater private hospital, is now firmly in the EBS saddle. Well, not quite so firmly. Last week, he headed for a week in the sun, a break from the market chaos.

So the society was drifting rudderless through the worst banking crisis in decades. So who was in charge? A call to EBS secretary and director Emer Finnan prompted the response that she was “away in Italy.” Join the EBS board and see the world.

A bit of persistence worked. She returned the call from her distant perch – but was unable to lay her hands on the required information as she was not in the office. Perhaps they are all away gathering strength for another stormy AGM in the spring.

No wonder UK building society Britannia was a second party to pull out of an association with EBS last week. They abandoned plans for a joint venture in the mortgage market. A lucky escape.