THE incoming chief executive of Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks has highlighted the potential of the group to play a part in consolidation activity in the UK financial sector.

David Duffy, who is leaving Allied Irish Banks after more than three years in charge where he helped return it to profit, said he had received several approaches but found the opportunity in Scotland "a bit interesting".

With Clydesdale owner National Australia Bank expected to announce the flotation of its UK operations later this year Mr Duffy also points to the potential for the Glasgow bank to grow through acquisition.

In an interview the 53-year-old said: "[Clydesdale's] a bank with a proud history, with a parent that wants to give it back its independence, and it has the macro potential to be a consolidator in the UK."

The Dublin native also confirmed he will be moving to Glasgow to take up the role.

Mr Duffy has spent around three decades in banking with spells at the likes of Goldman Sachs and ING.

He was chief executive at South Africa's Standard Bank and joined Allied Irish in December 2011.

Mr Duffy's cost-cutting saw staff numbers being reduced from 16,700 to around 11,500 while branches were closed and salaries trimmed.

Those measures helped to return the Irish state owned lender, bailed out with €21 billion between 2008 and 2010, to profit earlier than anticipated with €1.1bn booked for 2014.

His departure date from Allied Irish has not yet been finalised but it is expected he will stay on until a successor is named.