Colm Doherty: may fall short

AIB's head of capital markets, Colm Doherty, who is seeking to be the bank's chief executive, could be entitled to a substantial pay-off if he does not secure the position and departs from the bank.

The government is reported to be opposed to the idea of appointing an insider to the position, a position supported by Green Party finance spokesman Dan Boyle.

Doherty was unavailable for comment last week and the bank denied there was any "deadline'' in place to get a chief executive. The bank also denied suggestions that the race to become chief executive could end up in some kind of legal wrangle.

However it looks increasingly unlikely that Doherty can secure the role, although a key US candidate- believed to be Liam McGee, the Irish-born US banking executive- is not believed to be interested in taking up the position.

Under AIB's rules, a senior executive leaving the bank can be paid what are known as "termination benefits''. The bank recognises these as an expense when executives depart "before normal retirement age''.

According to the bank's rules the termination benefits work as follows: "Termination benefits for voluntary redundancies are recognised if the group has made an offer encouraging voluntary redundancy, it is probable that the offer will be accepted and the number of acceptances can be estimated reliably.''