Account balance: as Francesca McDonagh moves on, she leaves behind a mixed legacy

Bank of Ireland’s outgoing chief executive pushed hard to have crisis-era bankers’ pay caps removed, but failed. She is now moving on to a new role herself, leaving behind a bank that is healthy enough to be returned to private ownership, but has yet to properly compete with new online rivals

Francesca McDonagh, chief executive of Bank of Ireland: her tenure has not been without controversy. Picture: Naoise Culhane

Just two months ago, Francesca McDonagh lamented how she was being forced to run a bank with “one arm tied behind her back” due to restrictions on bankers’ pay and bonuses.

Speaking to the Business Post in what now looks very much like her final salvo at forcing change on the matter, the Bank of Ireland chief executive described the crisis-era pay caps at the time as “out of step with reality” and competitively “prohibitive”.