Maersk family sacks Danske Bank Chairman over money laundering scandal

Maersk family sacks Danske Bank Chairman over money laundering scandal
Thomas Borgen

Danske Bank’s largest shareholder, the Maersk family, has ousted the lender’s chairman after a money laundering scandal that has also forced out its chief executive.

A.P. Moller Holding, which controls about 21 percent of the share capital in the bank, has nominated Karsten Dybvad, who currently heads the Confederation of Danish Industry, to replace Ole Andersen as chairman of Denmark’s largest bank.

The move is a rare example of Denmark’s Maersk family, which controls shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk through A.P. Moller Holding, openly flexing its muscles to seek change at one of its investments.

“Danske Bank requires new leadership and changes to its board to strengthen its position as a leading Nordic bank,” Robert Uggla, chief executive of family-owned A.P. Moller Holding said in a statement.

Andersen, who was appointed chairman seven years ago, has agreed to step down from the board at an extraordinary general meeting to be held within two weeks.

The change follows a scandal that involved 200 billion euros ($230 billion) in payments through Danske’s Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015, many of which the bank said in a report in September it thinks are suspicious.

Danske is the subject of criminal investigations in Denmark, Estonia and the United States.

A new chairman is needed “to strengthen the bank’s ability to address its culture, compliance program and engagement with regulators,” the leading shareholder said.

Danske Bank Chief Executive Thomas Borgen quit in September when the group published the report into the transactions.

Turmoil at the bank deepened the following month when Jacob Aarup-Andersen, the board’s choice to take over as chief executive, was rejected by the country’s financial regulator because of a lack of experience.

“I share the perception of the need for a new board, and as I have previously announced I also believe it is right for me to leave the chairmanship to new forces,” the outgoing chairman Andersen said in a statement.

Danish pension funds PFA and ATP both support the nomination of Dybvad as new chairman, A.P. Moller Holding said.

Danske said on Tuesday that it was still searching for a permanent chief executive.

Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to as the source.