Ireland taps Willie Walsh for debt agency

City A.M. Reporter
IRELAND appointed airline chief Willie Walsh to its government debt agency yesterday, securing the former British Airways boss’s broad experience as it returns to financial markets following an €85bn bailout.

Walsh, now chief executive of British Airways’ parent International Airlines Group, will become chairman of the National Treasury Management Agency’s (NTMA) board of directors once a law approving the board’s creation has been passed early next year.

The board will be charged with setting broad targets for debt management and the agency’s investment strategy. John Corrigan will remain chief executive of NTMA.

Ireland will not issue any more bonds this year as it has cash on hand, but will need to show it can fund itself regularly on international markets when it exits a bailout in December.

IAG said the appointment would not affect Walsh’s role at the airline.

“Willie Walsh is an ideal candidate for the role... given his position as a global business leader, his extensive experience of corporate change, and his equity and financial market experience,” finance minister Michael Noonan said in a statement.