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Richie Boucher is to step down as chief executive of Bank of Ireland later this year, after more than eight years on the job.

Mr Boucher, who took over the top job back in February 2009, at the height of the global economic crisis, will also leave his role as a director the company.

In a statement on Friday, the Irish bank said a selection process is underway to appoint a new CEO and Mr Boucher will continue in his role pending completion of the process.

“Since his appointment…Richie has led the Group through very difficult times,” said Archie Kane, the bank’s governor. “The Group has been recapitalised, has fully repaid the Irish taxpayer the amount the State invested in it with a cash profit and faces the future in a robust and profitable position…We are extremely grateful to him.”

Mr Boucher, whose eight years at the helm makes him Ireland’s longest serving bank chief executive, said he felt it was time for someone else to lead the business.

“I will be 59 in August of this year and I feel it best for the Group that someone else leads the Group’s next stage of development,” he said. “This has influenced my decision to retire from the Group at this time, and to focus on the other things which I might like to do with my life.”

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