Investment banker Francesco Ceccato is taking the helm of Barclays' Irish unit, where the bulk of its European business has shifted in recent years following Britain's vote to leave the EU.

Ceccato, a seasoned banker who has spent the past decade at Barclays, succeeds Kevin Wall who is retiring.

The British bank has a licensed business in Dublin - Barclays Bank Ireland - which has been gradually morphed into its main European hub ahead of Brexit.

Its decision to bet on 50-year-old Ceccato to run its European operations follows a stellar performance by Barclays' investment banking business in the first quarter of the year which helped it weather the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Francesco brings a wealth of experience and a strong client focus which will help to drive the continued success of Barclays Europe," said Barclays Bank Ireland chair Helen Keelan.

Ceccato, an Italian native, has worked in both London and New York, holding senior roles at GE Capital, Bear Stearns and JPMorgan, before moving to Barclays where he was initially in charge of strategy and corporate development.

He rose quickly through the ranks and worked closely with boss Jes Staley to divest a series of non-core units including the bank's French and Italian retail business.

In his new role - which is set to start in late September - Ceccato will focus on expanding the bank's client network and helping clients access the group's services across the region.