Alan Dukes: approval

Anglo Irish Bank's designate chairman has denied that the appointment of Gary Kennedy, a former group finance director at AIB, will drive a wedge through the Financial Regulator's proposals that attempt to set limits on the number of outside directorships a bank board director may reasonably hold.

Chairman Alan Dukes said that the appointment last week of Kennedy, Noel Cawley and Aidan Eames as non-executive directors to the board of the nationalised bank had been approved by the Financial Regulator.

Kennedy holds non-executive board roles on two stock market-listed companies, Greencore and Elan, the drugs company where he is chairman of its audit committee and a member of its compensation committee. He is also a non-executive director at Friends First and holds directorships of private companies.

Last month the regulator published a consultative report on corporate governance to ensure that non-executive directors had enough time to do their jobs on the boards of banks and insurance companies when they also hold several directorships at other firms.

The report said that the regulator considered that a director "holding more than five directorships created a rebuttable presumption that the director has insufficient time available to fulfil his role".

But a director could hold more than five directorships with the prior approval of the Financial Regulator.

A spokeswoman for the regulator on Friday said that it believed that a director of a bank or other regulated financial institution "under normal time demands" could hold eight directorships. "We have proposed that factors which would be taken into account include whether the companies involved actively trade, the degree of complexity of the operations of such companies and whether the companies are part of a group," the spokeswoman said.

Dukes said that the three appointments to the board "meet the proposed rules."

Kennedy last year attended 12 meetings as chairman of Elan's audit committee and three meetings of its leadership and compensation committee, according to the company's annual report.