The chief executive of Ireland's largest bank is likely to step down early to make way for his successor.
Allied Irish Bank, which is also Ireland's largest company by market value, said Michael Buckley would be replaced as chief executive by Eugene Sheehy, the head of the New York-based M&T Bank's Mid Atlantic Division.
Despite record profits, Mr Buckley's four-year reign at AIB was marred by some major scandals, including the loss of almost £487 million at the bank's US subsidiary, Allfirst, by rogue trader John Rusnack, the non-disclosure of Deposit Interest Retention Tax (Dirt) to the Irish revenue and the overcharging of customers for foreign exchange transactions.
Mr Buckley was originally scheduled to retire in February next year but with Mr Sheehy taking up the position of chief executive designate in April, it is probable that he will leave within months.
A spokesman for AIB, which is developing a flagship facility in Birmingham city centre, said no specific date for his departure had been set.
Mr Sheehy, aged 51, joined AIB in 1971. He was appointed managing director of AIB Bank Ireland in 2001 and then moved to become chief executive of AIB's USA Division.
AIB chairman Dermot Gleeson said: "He combines a 30-year career in AIB, during which he held a variety of key posts, with three years working at the very highest levels in M&T, one of the most successful banks in the United States," he said.
In February, AIB announced pretax profits of £974 million for 2004, a rise of almost £278 million on the previous year.