Skip to main content

Listening and learning while leading

In our new ‘path to CEO’ series, Bank of Ireland’s Chief Executive Officer Francesca McDonagh reflects on her career path to date

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 thought I would have a career in banking. I knew I wanted to have an international life, or career; I knew I wanted to do something that was intellectually challenging and rewarding, but also something that made a difference, that was bigger than me. I went to a local state school but managed to get into Oxford University through a lot of hard work and luck as opposed to being naturally gifted. I did a degree in politics, philosophy and economics, and that led me to travel as well. Every summer I found jobs working overseas."

"After university, I worked for HSBC for 20 years in the investment bank, and the private bank, but I spent most of my career in the retail and wealth divisions. I worked in the UK for a period but mostly I was overseas in Asia, Latin America and also the Middle East region before going back to the UK. Then the Bank of Ireland opportunity came up. I got a phone call about the CEO role, and I thought, what an amazing opportunity at this stage of my life, in my career, to be a CEO of such a special institution. It was a bigger role in a smaller organisation but you have the full, enterprise-wide perspective, and full accountability. I was also very aware of Bank of Ireland’s special role in Ireland; the bank is unique in terms of the impact it has on the Irish economy, households and businesses. It is an opportunity that was too good to turn down, and this is now my fourth year in the role."

Francesca McDonagh, Chief Executive Officer, Bank of Ireland

Did you find this useful?

Thanks for your feedback

If you would like to help improve further, please complete a 3-minute survey