Bank of Ireland taps Tesco Bank executive to lead UK division

Lender appoints former Ulster Bank head of retail banking as chief operating officer

Bank of Ireland has tapped a senior executive at Edinburgh-based Tesco Bank, Gail Goldie, to head its UK division, which has been the subject of strategy overhaul in recent times.

The largest domestic Irish bank by assets has also hired former head of retail banking at Ulster Bank, Ciarán Coyle, as the group’s new chief operating officer, leading technology, digital, data, payments, and change delivery. Ulster Bank is exiting the Irish market.

Ms Goldie was chief banking officer at Tesco Bank, which is run by Belfast native and former Ulster Bank chief executive Gerry Mallon. Tesco put its banking arm on the market late last year and has reportedly fielded bid interest from the likes of HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group.

Bank of Ireland’s previous UK chief executive, Ian McLaughlin, quit last year to head up UK sub-prime lender Vanquis Banking Group, formerly known as Provident Financial. Dave Sutherland, who had been acting as interim Bank of Ireland UK chief executive since July, will now take up a new role as group director for business efficiency, where he will oversee third-party supplier relationships.


Ms Goldie’s appointment comes a little more than a month after Bank of Ireland announced its UK unit will stop providing mortgages and personal loans through the UK Post Office and end its financial services joint venture with the AA in the UK. It will continue to offer savings products through the Post Office.

The move to walk away from offering mortgages through the UK Post Office was largely seen as inevitable by industry observers after Bank of Ireland decided to retreat from mass-market mortgages a few years ago to more “bespoke” and higher-return home loans offered through brokers. These include mortgages to the likes of professionals seeking larger-than-average loans and people looking to take equity out of their homes.

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The strategy – as well as currency fluctuations – has seen Bank of Ireland UK’s retail mortgage book contract from €23.4 billion at the end of 2019 to €16 billion at the end of last June.

Meanwhile, Mr Coyle’s appointment to the role of chief operating officer fills a position that has been left open since the previous holder of the role, Jackie Noakes, quit the bank in late 2022.

Her responsibilities were subsequently taken over on an interim basis by Sharon Donnelly as she was appointed interim chief technology and payments officer. Ms Donnelly plans to leave the bank soon, having served with the group for 35 years, according to sources.

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan

Joe Brennan is Markets Correspondent of The Irish Times