Nordea reported seeking new CEO

Nordea, the Nordic region’s biggest bank, and one of Europe’s biggest universal banking services providers, is reported to be seeking a new CEO after a disagreement between management and the board.

Danish business publication Berlingske Business cites “several sources” indicating that headhunter firm Egon Zenhder has been appointed to find a successor to Christian Clausen, the Danish CEO.

Clausen has been at odds with board chairman Björn Wahlroos recently, BB reports, citing Swedish business daily Dagens Industri in turn reporting that Wahlroos characterised recently set financial goals presented at Nordea’s capital markets day event in London as “bullshit” (

Those targets for 2016-18 were published by Nordea in May as follows:

– Less than 1% average annual cost increase (CAGR)
– Dividend payout ratio of at least 75%
– Return on equity (RoE) above the Nordic peer average
– Risk exposure amount (REA) to be largely unchanged
– A capital policy that states that the CET1 capital ratio should include a management buffer of 50-150 bps above the regulatory requirement
-This is in total expected to imply an annual total dividend growth (CAGR) of more than 10%.

Unions in Denmark are concerned that any new management will be even more focused on cutting costs – and jobs – than has already been implemented, BB writes.

Wahlroos owns over 2% of Sampo, the Finnish insurance group that owns over 21% of Nordea, according to its shareholder register.

Possible successors to Clausen named by BB include Dane Michael Rasmussen, who took a job at Danish financial services group Nykredit in 2013; another is Swede Torbjörn Magnusson who is at If, the property and casualty insurance business that is part of the Sampo group.


Jonathan Boyd
Editorial Director of Open Door Media Publishing Ltd, and Editor of InvestmentEurope. Jonathan has over two decades of media experience in Japan, Australia, Canada and the UK. Over the past 17 years he has been based in London writing about funds and investments. From editing the newsletter of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Japan in the 1990s he now focuses on Nordic markets for InvestmentEurope. Jonathan was awarded Editor of the Year at the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) Independent Publisher Awards 2017. Shortlisted for the same in 2016, he was also shortlisted in 2017 and 2015 for the broader PPA Awards category Editor of the Year (Business Media).

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