Brian Lenihan: adviser

A new financial guru to advise and report to finance minister Brian Lenihan on Nama and the crisis in the financial sector will be paid more than the minister himself.

The Department of Finance recently advertised for the key position of head of financial services division with a salary of €198,568 - over €7,000 more than Lenihan's €191,417 salary.

A spokesman for the public appointments' service – the state's recruitment agency - said that it already had a number of enquiries for the position, which is open to all.

"This is a huge job that will be so important for the country and the economy and the interest shown so far has reflected that," said the spokesman, who added that the closing date for applications is on Thursday.

The job is at 'second secretary general' level in the Department of Finance and is to replace the former head of financial services, Kevin Cardiff, who landed the top job in Finance earlier this year as overall department head - the most powerful pub­lic service job in the country.

The job will entail complex financial negotiations with the banks over toxic loans and, accordingly, the department warns the successful applicant "will need to be resilient, determined, flexible and calm under pressure".

While no specific financial qualifications are required, the Department of Finance stressed that the successful applicant must have a "deep knowledge and understanding of the financial sector".

Mindful of the need to take a stronger line with the banks than might have been the case to date, the department adds that the person will have the capacity to "deal assertively and forthrightly with the financial services industry".

The person appointed will report directly to the government and Lenihan on Nama and support the stability of the banking system, so knowledge of "complex financial structures, corporate finance principles and financial market function" is a key requirement for the job.