Outlook: Pride and ego breed a banking farce
Thursday 17 June 1999
Maurice Keane, Bank of Ireland's chief executive, seems to have had an even tougher job persuading his own board of its virtues. By the look of it, there was little prior consultation about the exact structure of the merger, and if Alliance and Leicester is to believed, a number of directors appear not to have known about it all. Plainly they didn't like what they saw.
The objections came thick and fast. Where would the head office be? Would the chairman have the casting vote? Who would be the lead regulator? Would there be cross guarantees of each other's liabilities, and by the way, is it to be flock or pastel wall paper and whose dinner service will be brought out on special occasions?
According to A & L, it was all to do with safeguarding non executive jobs on the court of the Bank of Ireland, nice little numbers which Ireland's great and the good are understandably reluctant to surrender. If this seems a rather far fetched, though not entirely unbelievable, explanation of why the marriage failed at the altar, it was certainly the case that both sides in this supposed merger of equals thought it was they who was taking over the other.
A & L was always keen to stress to anyone that would listen that its own man, Peter White, would be getting the top executive job, while playing to its home crowd, Bank of Ireland presented the deal as an important one over on the Brits - the acquisition of a venerable British institution.
This merger was plainly never meant to happen and it is perhaps just as well this was discovered before any real damage could be done. As it is there could yet be fallout. The deal's failure is a profound embarrassment to all concerned and if it is true that Irish non executives were not adequately briefed, then heads could yet roll.
Equally, the affair reflects badly on Alliance and Leicester, which has now twice failed to pull off a consolidating merger, first time round with the Woolwich. Mergers in the British banking sector remain as elusive and hidebound by ego and pride as ever.
Stand by for another DECADE of wet summers, say Met Office meteorologists
'Jail reckless bankers': Report urges the Government to introduce new criminal offence for reckless management
Feat of engineering: Incredible photographs show construction beneath New York's Second Avenue
World news in pictures
Google challenges US surveillance gagging order
- 1 Disability campaigners celebrate 'victory' after government rethink over plans to make it more difficult to claim disability benefits
- 2 'Jail reckless bankers': Report urges the Government to introduce new criminal offence for reckless management
- 3 Breaking the Silence: In the reality of occupation, there are no Palestinian civilians – only potential terrorists
- 4 Uri Geller psychic spy? The spoon-bender's secret life as a Mossad and CIA agent revealed
- 5 Vice pulls 'breathtakingly tasteless' fashion shoot glorifying the suicides of famous female authors from Sylvia Plath to Virginia Woolf
iJobs Money & Business
£600 - £750 per day: Orgtel: FATCA Project Manager - Banking - London - £600-...
£550 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Fidessa Analyst / PM - Banking - London - Up to £...
£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Pension: Orgtel: Quantitative Analyst, ...
£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: KYC Analyst - London - Banking - £150-250/day C...