RICHARD Burrows, former governor of the Bank of Ireland (BoI), will be named this week as chairman of British American Tobacco (BAT).<br /><br />Burrows will fill the gap left by Jan du Plessis, who announced in April that he was stepping down after taking up the chairmanship of mining giant Rio <br />Tinto.<br /><br />BAT is the world’s second-largest cigarette maker, valued at £38bn, with top brands Dunhill, Kent and Lucky Strike in its portfolio. <br /><br />While BAT has enjoyed a five year period of stellar growth under the stewardship of Du Plessis and its chief executive Paul Adams, Burrows leaves an Irish institution whose survival would be in question without government aid.<br /><br />Burrows left his position at the Bank of Ireland in July, taking accountability for the bank’s poor performance as it nosedived to a €7m (£6.2m) pre-tax loss. <br /><br />The bank’s slump under his guidance could be a cause for concern for BAT investors, but it is believed that Burrow’s boardroom expertise and knowledge of international marketing and branding have weighed in his favour with the tobacco firm’s board.<br /><br />Burrows became BoI governor just as the rampant Irish property boom was about to collapse. The bank’s exposure to the property downturn prompted the need for state-funding – forcing Burrows to apologise. He said: “I apologise to our stockholders for the loss in the value of their stock and for the cancellation of dividends”. <br /><br />Burrows succeeded Laurence Crowley as governor in 2005, a year before he stepped down as chief executive at French drinks group Pernod Ricard. <br /><br /> <strong>RICHARD BURROWS: TIPPED TO BE BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO CHAIRMAN</strong> Son of former 'Irish Times' journalist George Burrows, Richard Burrows, 63, was educated at Wesley College, Dublin, where he was a keen rugby player. He was also an international-class yachtsman. In 1986 he won the Round Ireland race and remains active in the affairs of the Sailing Association of Ireland. His son, David Burrows, has represented Ireland at sailing at several Olympic games. <br /><br />After leaving school, Burrows qualified as an accountant before joining whisky-maker Irish Distillers in 1971 where he stayed for 22 years. In 1978 at 32 Burrows succeeded Kevin McCourt as chief executive. <br /><br />He then steered Irish Distillers through a takeover battle, which led to Pernod Ricard taking control of the enlarged group in 1988. The French drinks group retained Burrows as Irish Distillers boss and he was then able to focus on the global expansion of Jameson whisky. Until 2005 he was joint chief executive of Pernod Ricard.<br /><br />He stepped down from Bank of Ireland in July. He remains on the board of Carlsberg and Rentokil Initial.