Have a Good Idea for Danske Bank? Email the CEO. Seriously
23 Jul 2019

The new chief executive officer of Danske Bank A/S says he wants anyone with good ideas about how to run his firm to contact him.

About 1 1/2 years after Danske was slammed by its financial regulator for having a culture that discouraged staff from speaking up, the bank is embracing transparency. Chris Vogelzang, a former ABN Amro banker who became Danske’s CEO last month, says he’d like to hear directly from investors and employees.

“We’re trying to be as transparent as possible,” Vogelzang said in an interview. “I want everybody in the bank to be able to speak up if they believe things can improve.” He says he’s handed his contact details to staff and others across Scandinavia, “so that people can actually send me emails on what they think should happen.”

A retail banker who helped guide ABN Amro back to health after it was rescued by the Dutch state, Vogelzang has been brought in to help Denmark’s biggest bank deal with the fallout of a $230 billion money-laundering debacle that erupted last year. The affair ended the career of the man who used to be Danske’s CEO, Thomas Borgen. He’s now one of several former executives to have had preliminary criminal charges brought against them.

Denmark’s Financial Supervisory Authority said last year that the “mean and lean” culture Danske used to have was probably part of the reason it slipped into such a devastating scandal. Under the bank’s former top management, the idea was “to solve issues at a lower level rather than bring them to people’s attention higher up,” the head of the Danish FSA, Jesper Berg, said in May 2018. “Obviously, that reveals a problem in terms of culture.”

By Frances Schwartzkopff, Bloomberg, 22 July 2019

Read more at Bloomberg

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