Belfast Telegraph

Nama seeks new finance chief

By Donal O'Donovan

Ireland's National Asset Management Agency (Nama) has announced plans to hire a chief finance officer. The new role comes as part of the first major shake-up at the agency since it was set up in 2009.

The Republic's bad bank, which has absorbed loans of £3.5bn relating to property in Northern Ireland, has been heavily criticised in the past for its slow moving, bureaucratic structures. The agency's bosses regularly dispute that reputation, arguing that they make speedy credit decisions.

However, the new structure was prompted in large part by a review of Nama by ex-HSBC banker Michael Geoghegan. The review took place last year at the request of Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

Mr Geoghegan's largely positive report expressed concerns about the extent of the internal administration at Nama. "This is manifested in the large number of internal meetings, long agendas and substantial numbers of attendees," he said.

The same review said Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh was managing an "extraordinary'' workload and recommended freeing the official to focus on strategy issues.

The new structure comes after a fresh review by Nama's board and goes a long way towards distributing responsibilities across a senior team.

Five division heads will report to Mr McDonagh. Internal candidates have already been appointed to four of the senior positions.