Allied Irish appoints Co-Op Bank's Pym as next chairman

DUBLIN, July 14 Mon Jul 14, 2014 5:12am EDT

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DUBLIN, July 14 (Reuters) - State-owned Allied Irish Banks (AIB) appointed the chairman of Britain's Co-operative Bank Richard Pym as its next chairman on Monday ahead of a potential reprivatisation next year.

Pym, who is also chairman of UK Asset Resolution (UKAR), Britain's "bad bank" which is winding down the loans of Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley, will take over from former HSBC executive David Hodgkinson in October.

Hodgkinson was drafted into the bank in October 2010, two months before Ireland entered an EU/IMF bailout that sought to clean up the country's banks after years of reckless lending in the sector was exposed by a devastating property crash.

AIB has cost taxpayers more than 20 billion euros, the most given to any lender that survived Ireland's debt crisis, but it returned to profit in the first quarter of 2014 after a cost-cutting drive led by Hodgkinson and Chief Executive David Duffy.

Duffy said last month that he would remain as CEO of the bank after signing a permanent contract.

Pym, who had already said he would step down from his role at the Co-op bank this year, was chief executive of Alliance & Leicester for five years until 2007, stepping down just before the financial crisis hit and a year before it was bought by Spain's Santander at a knock-down price.

He will keep his position as chairman of UKAR, a spokeswoman for the government agency said.

Ireland's government, which has cut its exposure to AIB's main rival, part-state owned Bank of Ireland, is keen to offload the remaining banking assets it acquired during the crisis and AIB has said it could attract private investment next year.

"I look forward to working with Mr Pym to ensure AIB continues to make progress so that it can support the recovery taking place in the Irish economy and begin to return capital to the state," Ireland's finance minister Michael Noonan said in a statement. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Jason Neely)

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