Greater gender balance a priority for Bank of Ireland

Alan Hartley is commercial director at Bank of Ireland. He tells ThinkBusiness about the bank’s commitment to being a prominent advocate for greater gender balance, not just within the company but throughout the country.
Tell us a bit of background about yourself and your career?
I qualified as a chartered accountant but most of my initial career was as an interest rate trader in the dealing rooms of firstly KBC, and then Bank of Ireland. I hung up the trading boots after nearly 20 years and moved into group treasury and then investor relations, before moving again late last year into Bank of Ireland’s retail business to run its commercial office.
How did you come to be involved in inclusion and diversity in Bank of Ireland?
I have three young daughters and have a natural interest in ensuring they get the same opportunities to achieve their goals and ambitions as I did. Andrew Keating, the group CFO, and I were discussing the topic by chance a couple of years ago and he was looking for opportunities to bring inclusion and diversity (I&D), and gender balance in particular, higher up the agenda within his division and the wider bank. I asked to help and it’s taken off from there.
What does it mean for Bank of Ireland today?
Playing a prominent leadership role in promoting greater I&D within the bank and beyond is completely aligned with our strategic ambition to be Ireland’s national champion bank. In addition, it is also completely consistent with and supportive of the bank’s commercial objectives.  
“In Ireland, research suggests that household finances are increasingly being managed by women.”
Why do we need an I&D agenda and how successful is it as achieving its goals?
I think the moral and social imperative in today’s world is clear. What’s less focussed on are the commercial opportunities

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