New Danske CEO to stick with strategy of departing Vogelzang

Danske Bank CEO Egeriis pictured in Copenhagen
Danske Bank Chief Executive Carsten Egeriis, who unexpectedly was promoted to the top position at the Danish bank on Monday April 19, 2021 is pictured in Copenhagen, Denmark sometime in 2017. Danske Bank/Handout via REUTERS

April 19, 2021

By Nikolaj Skydsgaard

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Carsten Egeriis, who was named as Danske Bank chief executive on Monday, said he plans to continue the strategy set out by his predecessor for Denmark’s largest lender.

Chris Vogelzang resigned unexpectedly after Dutch authorities labelled him as a suspect in a separate case at his former employer, ABN Amro.

Egeriis, 44, takes the helm at Danske less than two years after Vogelzang was tasked with restoring trust in the bank whose involvement in one of the world’s biggest money-laundering scandals rocked investor confidence.

“The plan is to fully continue the strategy that Chris Vogelzang and the rest of the management team have set out,” Egeriis told Reuters after his appointment.

Danske has set out a 2023 plan for further digitalization, to cut costs and implement a new organizational structure. It is also working with authorities in several countries, including the United States, to settle inquiries into money laundering.

Egeriis, who worked for Barclays for a decade, joined Danske in 2017 as head of risk management, the same position held in his last year at the British bank in London.

His rapid promotion stands in contrast to Danske’s former finance chief Jacob Aarup Andersen, who Denmark’s financial watchdog in 2018 decided not to approve as new CEO due to what i said was a lack of top management experience.

“I have led large teams both at Barclays in London and at Danske in Copenhagen,” Egeriis said in an interview.

“My experience is not a concern to me.”

The FSA has told the bank that it expects to approve Egeriis as its new CEO.

“This all happened very fast. It’s a great responsibility, and I’m of course incredibly happy and proud that the board has put so much trust in me,” Egeriis said.

Vogelzang became Danske CEO in June 2019 with the job of steering Danske through a scandal which involving 200 billion euros ($239 billion) in suspicious transactions passing through its Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015.

He announced his resignation after Dutch authorities labelled him as a suspect in the ABN case.

“I am very sorry about this situation and that Chris is leaving the bank. But we must move forward and execute on our strategy and be there for our customers.” Egeriis said.

(Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard; Writing by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Edmund Blair and Alexander Smith)