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Ireland tells Allied Irish Banks to obey salary cap

Source: Reuters - Tue 17th Nov 2009

Ireland's finance minister turned down a request from Allied Irish Banks to exceed an executive salary cap imposed under a state rescue scheme earlier this year.

Allied Irish Chief Executive Eugene Sheey said in April he would retire as soon as a successor was found and the bank is now set to name board member Colm Doherty as managing director, with Chairman Dan O'Connor taking on executive duties.

The Irish Times, citing sources with knowledge of the bank'splans, said on Tuesday the bank wanted to pay Doherty 633,000euros ($943,000), above the government's cap of 500,000 euros.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan gave no detail on Doherty'scase but said he had received a proposal by Allied Irish toexceed the salary limit for one of its executives and the request had been rejected at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

"I can tell you that the government are not willing to break with the established guideline in this case" Lenihan told RTE radio.

The government, which holds indirect 25 percent stakes in Allied Irish and in rival Bank of Ireland after a bailout, has imposed a cap on bankers' salaries as it grappled with twin fiscal and banking crises. 

"We have an adjustment to make as a country and banks have to be part of that adjustment" Lenihan added.

Lenihan, who said last week Allied Irish would get an"internal management team", acknowledged the salary cap had beena reason why some external candidates had turned the job down.

Rival Bank of Ireland, which like Allied has received a 3.5 billion euro state bailout, was widely criticised earlier this year for choosing a new CEO from among its own ranks instead of bringing in a fresh face.

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