DANSKE ELECTS NEW CHAIRMAN TO LEAD BANK THROUGH MONEY-LAUNDERING SCANDAL
COPENHAGEN Danske Bank elected the favoured candidate of its top shareholder as its new chairman on Friday to help steer the Danish lender through a multibillion euro money-laundering scandal.
Authorities in Denmark, Estonia, Britain and the United States are investigating payments totalling €200-billion ($303.3-billion) made through Danske Bank’s tiny Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015.
The threat of a heavy fine from the U.S. Department of Justice has sent Danske’s shares down almost 50 per cent since March, erasing around US$15-billion of market value and raising the prospect of legal action from investors. The Maersk shipping tycoon family, the bank’s top shareholder with a 21-per-cent stake, ousted chairman Ole Andersen and called Friday’s shareholder meeting to nominate Karsten Dybvad, 62, and another board member. There were more than 600 shareholders at the extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in Copenhagen on Friday which elected Mr. Dybvad to the board. The modified board of directors then elected Mr. Dybvad as the new chairman.
Mr. Dybvad was chief executive of the Confederation of Danish Industry, one of the country’s most influential lobby groups, for the past eight years and before that had a long career as a government official working with ministers from both the left and right of Danish politics, although his role did not involve oversight of banks.
Besides restoring Danske’s image, Mr. Dybvad is also tasked with finding a new chief executive to head the bank and ensure potential legal cases, not least in the United States, don’t drag attention away from day-to-day business.