Danske’s Lone Woman Executive Says Male Dominance to Be Reduced
(Bloomberg) -- Danske Bank A/S wants to bring a lot more women into its upper echelons as part of a broad plan to ramp up its credentials on environmental, social and governance issues.
Berit Behring, the head of wealth management at the Copenhagen-based bank and the only woman in its C-suite, says Danske wants at least 35% of its managers to be women. That compares with about 23% today.
“It’s not just about gender,” she told reporters on Wednesday. “However, the target we are putting for ourselves is to increase women in senior management positions.”
Diversity is just one of a number of goals Danske has given itself until 2023 to meet. The bank is also committing almost $20 billion to green projects, with three-quarters of that earmarked for financing and the rest devoted to asset management.
The focus on ethical conduct follows a grim chapter in Danske’s history, after it admitted that a large part of about $220 billion in non-resident flows that went through its Estonian operations were suspicious. The bank is waiting to learn how much it might be facing in fines as investigators across Europe and in the U.S. look into allegations of money laundering.
On Wednesday, the lingering fallout of the dirty money affair continued to make itself felt as Danske said it expects profit to plunge this year, in part because of rising compliance costs.
The dirty-money scandal prompted many investors and customers to turn their backs on Danske, and its market value has contracted by more than half since the beginning of 2018. On Wednesday, the stock fell as much as 3.5%.
Now, Danske wants to reposition itself as a firm focused on ethical conduct. That includes cutting its own carbon footprint by 75%, versus 2010 levels, in the coming three years, it said.
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