Scandal-ridden Danske Bank names new CEO


Copenhagen (AFP)

Denmark's biggest bank Danske Bank said Friday it had appointed Chris Vogelzang as its new CEO after his predecessor resigned in September 2018 amid a money laundering scandal.

Vogelzang, from the Netherlands, has held several management positions at Dutch Bank ABM AMRO and joins Danske as the bank faces criminal investigations following revelations of suspected money laundering tied to its operations in Estonia.

"He has extensive leadership and commercial experience within banking and has throughout his career managed difficult challenges and delivered good results," Karsten Dybvad, chair of the bank's board, said in a statement.

"We have a big task ahead of us in continuing to rebuild trust and at the same time developing our business in pace with customer expectations and the technological development to ensure that we remain a leading Nordic bank."

The appointment was well received by markets and at 1030am (0830 GMT) Danske's shares were up over three percent.

Danske Bank is the target of criminal probes in several countries over some 200 billion euros ($226 billion) in transfers that passed through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015, involving some 15,000 foreign clients, many Russian.

The former CEO Thomas Borgen resigned in September last year when the bank released the findings from an investigation conducted by the law firm Bruun and Hjejle, which detailed a "series of major deficiencies" in the bank's governance and control systems.

Danish authorities filed preliminary charges against the bank in November.

According to local media reports, Danish prosecutors have filed preliminary charges against Thomas Borgen and nine other former managers at Danske as part of their money-laundering investigation.

The Danish prosecution authority have not confirmed the reports and told AFP that they do not wish to comment on the matter.

Since October 2018, Jesper Nielsen, who previously headed personal banking at Danske, has been serving as interim CEO and will continue to do so until Vogelzang takes over on June 1.