Irish department store Arnotts is expected to retain barrister Richard Nesbitt as chairman if the European Commission rules that the Anglo Irish Bank and Ulster Bank can take control of the business..

The Nesbitt family founded Arnotts in 1843 and the banks are understood to be keen to maintain the connection if the new controlling structure is approved, the Irish Times reported

The family currently owns a 55% stake in the business, which owes about 250m (£208m) to the two banks.

However, all existing shareholders will lose their equity if the banks take control as expected, meaning Nesbitt would stay on as a figurehead only for the iconic department store.

The banks are expected to swap their debt for control of the business and bring in additional management to stabilise the Dublin department store. They have already drafted in specialists including former Brown Thomas chief executive Nigel Blow.