David Drumm: ‘There is a witch hunt ... I convince myself that this will pass’
An Irish Central exclusive interview with the former Anglo Irish Bank boss now in US
DD: Ya, you go around and around and around it. You think, personally what if I hadn’t have taken the job? Why did I come back from America? There were four candidates in the pot and my life would have been very different if I didn’t get the job.
NOD: What’s your life going to be like?
DD: I hope that some day I can get back to living some kind of a normal life.
NOD: What’s your life right now, what’s your day, is it involved with legal stuff?
DD: It’s half and half. I have a day job and I am very, very grateful to have one.
NOD: You’re advising people on investments?
DD: Yeah, I work on mergers and acquisitions. It’s very interesting work and I get paid, which is important obviously, critical.
NOD: So who are the people you work with, were they clients in Anglo Irish years ago over here?
DD: Actually no, I actually work now for a very small consultancy company that I had no connections with before, who hired me to do a particular project where I worked on the due diligence on a particular asset sale and then I did a good job, you know I got employed. But it started with a project and they offered me a job. So you get involved in an acquisition that takes several months and then you hope there is going to be another one.
NOD: Psychologically the downfall it must be very tough to deal with? You were a rising star, 2006/07 the young executive on the rise.
DD: That piece never sat comfortable with me. I didn’t want the job for that very reason. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I could do the job. I did not want the public profile, it was never my form.
NOD: Do you regret the memos you issued regarding the Christmas party?
DD: Do I regret that? No, because at the time morale was very low in the bank. The bank of all things put it’s people first. Staff, we valued the people in the bank, very, very highly. The bank’s business model relied on their level of loyalty to the bank, protecting the bank at all times, their productivity, their can do attitude. There were just great people working in the bank. Great, great people. So 2008, there was a lot of negativity in the media, to the extent of the fact it could have impacted on our people.
You do something to try and lift the morale. Looking back of course, when you ask me did I regret it, if I knew then what I know now, I might have done it a different way. But I take your point that it doesn’t look good now. But I was adamant I wanted to lift the morale in the bank. So I don’t regret wanting to lift the moral in the bank, but when you look at it through the lens of today I can see why it was painted the way it has been painted.
NOD: Do you think it was incompetence, corruption? What was at the core of the whole downfall. The political zeitgeist now is that Cowen was not up to the job, the banks were out of control, the media was a willing partner in an awful lot of the hype. When you look back at it, was it a collective madness?
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