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In conversation with Colin Hunt, Chief Executive Officer, AIB

Forging Resilience

In our ‘Path to CEO’ series, AIB's Chief Executive Officer Colin Hunt talks about the forces that shaped his development as a leader

This is a short excerpt from the full interview available to download as part of the FinSight magazine.

Q: Can you share your professional journey to date? What has enabled you to achieve such an incredible career?

I never set out to be CEO: it wasn’t part of my career plan or career trajectory. It’s almost through a series of events that I found myself in this position. I genuinely did not expect, ever, to be CEO of the country’s largest bank. What I would say in terms of my own personal development, as I look back on it now, you would almost think: here’s somebody with an almost programmatic approach to career planning because he worked in risk, in treasury, in equity capital markets, in debt capital markets, in lending, in corporate advisory, then became CEO. It’s almost as if it was a training plan over 20 to 25 years; it wasn’t. I was very fortunate to have opportunities at various points in my life that helped me to develop, learn and grow as a financial services professional.

Q: What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should have?

If you pick up a book on leadership or read one of the articles that litter the internet about leadership, they’ll all say things like ‘competence, integrity, strategic vision, energy, people leadership’. All these things are necessary, absolutely. But there’s one that very little attention is paid to that I think is a key differentiator amongst great leaders – and that is resilience. I think it’s critically important. If you’re talking about being a CEO, it’s a very demanding position. It is almost all-consuming and you need to be personally very resilient in my view. There is an organisation with millions of customers, shareholders, thousands of staff who are dependent on you, ultimately. And you need to be able to take the knocks, dust yourself off, get up again and go at it. I think it’s a key differentiator and probably we don’t talk about it enough.

Colin Hunt, Chief Executive Officer, AIB

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