Ex-Bank of Ireland boss takes on new finance role

Richie Boucher has been named a director of former Barclays boss Bob Diamond’s African-focused finance house Atlas Mara.

It comes just a day after the Africa-born former Bank of Ireland chief handed the reins at the Irish bank to new boss Francesca McDonagh.

At Atlas Mara, Boucher is one of four new directors appointed to the board after Canadian investor Prem Watsa’s Fairfax signed a partnership deal with the business in June.

Boucher is close to Fairfax, an important Bank of Ireland investor in the wake of the crash, and he already serves on the board of Greek lender Eurobank Ergasias, where the Canadian firm is also an investor.

It was reported in June that Boucher was considering a role with Fairfax, advising banks within the group’s portfolio.

He also has deep ties to Africa, where he was born to Irish parents in what is now Zambia and initially went to school in southern Africa before moving to Ireland.

Toronto-headquartered Fairfax Financial Holdings, headed by Watsa, is often dubbed the Canadian version of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway investment firm.

Atlas Mara was established in 2013 to invest in African banks. In June this year Fairfax invested $159m (£120m) in Atlas Mara for a 42% stake through its Fairfax Africa arm.

The deal with the business gave the Canadian backer the right to nominate four of its directors.

They have now been named as Mr Boucher, Fairfax executives Michael Wilkerson and Quinn McLean and Hisham Ezz Al-Arab, chairman of Egypt’s Commercial International Bank, where Fairfax has a stake.