As executive chairman of DCC, Jim Flavin was admired for his ability to deliver consistent profitability. He also was found by the highest court in the land to have engaged in insider trading when disposing of DCC's stake in Fyffes, where he was a board member, just before a collapse in the fruit distributor's share price. A typical chief executive might have been forced by his chairman to resign, but when Jim Flavin asked Jim Flavin what to do, Flavin told Flavin to stay put, and the board backed him. Eventually institutional shareholders and the ODCE had to step in and force Flavin out, but only after months of wrangling.
The absolute monarch at Irish Nationwide Building Society, Michael Fingleton stepped down as chairman in early 2008 only because the mutual's articles of association would not allow him to continue in the role beyond his 70th birthday. Otherwise he might have continued in the dual executive chairman role until he retired in April 2009. Fingleton aggregated so much power to himself in his 37 years at the helm that there was no chief financial officer or chief operations officer when he left: Fingers did those jobs, too.
Sean Quinn is still chairman and managing director of Quinn Group, but had to resign the chair at Quinn Insurance after the Financial Regulator fined him and the company a combined €3.45m for unauthorised intracompany loans related to Quinn's soured investment in Anglo Irish Bank. The move precipitated a major reorganisation across the boards of Quinn's various companies to separate executive from non-executive roles and bring the company in line with standards followed by listed companies.
Sean Fitzpatrick served as Anglo's chief executive for more than two decades before reclining into the chairman's seat at the top of the board table, making way for David Drumm in 2005. Fitzpatrick nonetheless remained intimately involved in the day-to-day operations of Anglo. Ultimately, FitzPatrick, Drumm and finance director Willie McAteer all had to resign in late 2008 after it emerged the bank had failed to disclose more than €100m in directors' loans in the annual accounts.
Donal O'Connor was brought onto the Anglo board in mid-2008 just as things were getting really ugly. He was thrust into the executive chairman role after the executive clear-out leading up to January's nationalisation of the bank. O'Connor stayed in place until the arrival of new chief executive Mike Aynsley in September and presided over the worst set of accounts in Irish corporate history when presenting the bank's interim results in May.