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Maersk family ousts Danske Bank chairman after scandal

Reuters  |  COPENHAGEN 

By Teis and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danske Bank's largest shareholder, the family, has ousted the lender's after a money laundering scandal that has also forced out its

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 as of Denmark's largest

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

"We make this move because we think that Danske's board has not reacted swiftly enough to find a replacement for the current chairman," said Robert Uggla, of

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

"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," Andersen said in a statement.

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 has said it thinks are suspicious.

Danske is the subject of criminal investigations in Denmark, and the and could face sizeable fines.

"needs a big with activities across the Nordic region," Uggla said on a conference call. "The bank is essential for Denmark's financial system and infrastructure and offers for many Danish businesses, investors and "


A new chairman is needed "to strengthen the bank's ability to address its culture, compliance programme and engagement with regulators", he added.

The Maersk-family - a major shareholder in since 1928 - has about $20 billion under management through its holding company.

quit in September when the group published its 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.

Uggla said the nomination of Dybvad is backed by the board and major shareholders, such as Danish pension funds PFA and ATP, and will enable the board to finalise its search for a new He declined to give specifics on timing or potential candidates.

Dybvad, meanwhile, told Reuters: "is the central and most fundamental financial institution in It's essential that it continues to develop and that it holds public trust."

Apart from his role as head of an industry lobby group, Dybvad is chairman of and has previously worked in government positions and at pension funds.

"Dybvad is known for his integrity, and many of those I have been in contact with speak about his moral compass. He is also known for his strong social commitment," Uggla said.

also nominated Jan Nielsen, who is in the holding company and a at toymaker LEGO, as of Danske Bank.

Danske Bank shares, which have shed nearly half their value since March, were 0.2 percent down at Tuesday's close.

($1 = 0.8751 euros)

(Reporting by Teis Jensen; Editing by Keith Weir and David Goodman)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, November 06 2018. 22:17 IST