Danske Bank A/S announced on Monday that Jesper Nielsen has been appointed as its interim chief executive officer. His new role follows the resignation of Thomas Borgen, the previous CEO on September 19, 2018, for his role in one of the worst money-laundering scandals in Europe.
Borgen resigned last month on the same day that Danske bank published an internal report on its suspicious dealings in Estonia. Instead of staying around until a new CEO was appointed, shareholders insisted that Borgen leave immediately.
This Monday, Borgen emailed a comment to Bloomberg saying, the board agreed it was “best for all parties that the person who leads management is also around to complete the job, and seeing as I’ve resigned, that person is not me.”
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In September, following a number of rumors, Danske admitted that a large part of around 200 billion euros ($235 billion) that passed through its Estonian operations was most likely laundered. This has resulted in criminal investigations into the bank and also sparked a European investigation into local regulators in Denmark.
Nielsen’s Appointment Highlights the Urgency to Get Rid of Borgen
Nielsen has been working with Danske since 1996. Most recently, he was the Head of Banking in Denmark. His appointment as interim CEO of Danske implies that it was of high importance that Borgen was removed from the firm’s Board.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Per Hansen, an investment economist at Nordnet in Copenhagen said: “There are several reasons why it makes sense to appoint an interim CEO instead of already naming a permanent replacement. Danske Bank probably decided that it was important to start the post-Borgen era as quickly as possible. But for investors, it will be more relevant when a long-term solution is found.”
Nielsen also added that his interim post was “mostly a formality” and that he’s “looking forward to a permanent solution being found.”