Three internal candidates are leading the race to succeed AIB group managing director Colm Doherty as head of the bank's capital markets division.

Head of investment banking Mon O'Driscoll, global treasury division managing director Eamonn Hackett and corporate banking chief Jerry McCrohan are said to be the leading internal candidates for the post, which was vacated by Doherty after he took up his new post last November.

An announcement is expected in the next couple of months.

O'Driscoll previously headed the bank's corporate finance unit and was involved in a number of major deals, including the flotation of Aer Lingus, while Hackett was involved in the bank's debt buyback last summer.

The capital markets division includes corporate and investment banking, treasury operations, corporate finance and Goodbody stockbrokers.

It has managed to avoid the carnage afflicting other parts of AIB.

The bank says operating profits at capital market in 2009 will be higher than in the previous year and the largest contributor to group profits.

Doherty was paid €633,000 in his last year in charge of capital markets, making him the bank's second-highest paid director.

An AIB spokeswoman declined to comment.