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Bol picks Soden successor

Bank of Ireland is searching for a new boss following chief executive Michael Soden&#39s shock resignation last week after he confessed to viewing pornographic material on his office computer.

The 57 year old quit his £1m-a-year post after an internal check of the company&#39s internet system revealed the breach of company regulations.

There is speculation that Soden might have accidentally accessed porn while browsing escort sites ahead of a trip to Las Vegas.

With Bank of Ireland, which owns Bristol & West and Chase de Vere IFA in the UK, pulling out of a deal to buy Richard Desmond&#39s back catalogue of pornographic magazines for ethical reasons earlier in the year, the subject was destined to be controversial.

As BoI explained in a statement, while the websites Soden accessed were not illegal, they did infringe the company&#39s policy.

Soden says: “I have made it a central part of my tenure as group chief executive to set the highest standards of integrity and behaviour and to do so in an environment of accountability, transparency and openness.

“I now accept that accessing this material was inappropriate and would cause embarrassment to Bank of Ireland and to the people who work there. I deeply regret any such embarrassment.”

Laurence Crowley, governor of the Bank of Ireland Group says that the board accepted Soden&#39s resignation with regret. He says: “Michael has made an enormous contribution to the group since he took up the position as chief executive in March 2002. He leaves us having placed the group in a position of strength for future growth.”

The company says it is looking to appoint a replacement CE as quickly as possible.

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