Are Public Interest Directors a Good Idea? Lessons from the Irish Banking Crisis
50 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2015 Last revised: 19 Dec 2015
Date Written: September 15, 2015
This paper examines the role of public interest directors using as a case study the public interest directors appointed to six Irish credit institutions following the recent Irish Banking Crisis. For the purposes of the study, former public interest directors were questioned about their personal experiences and their opinions on the usefulness of such a position on the boards of banks more generally. The following questions were considered: what role did the public interest directors actually play and how did this fit with the Government’s purpose and the public’s expectations?; how was “public interest” understood or defined in this context; did the public interest conflict with the banks’ interests, and how were these conflicts resolved? Our study reveals the complex balancing act which has to be performed by public interest directors seeking to reconcile their duties and the difficulty of providing legal certainty in statute as to their functions.
Keywords: public interest directors, credit institutions, Irish banking crisis, public interest conflict, duties, functions
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