Swedbank Risk Chief and Baltic Head Leave Amid Laundering Probe

(Bloomberg) --

Swedbank AB is parting ways with its chief risk officer and the head of its Baltic Banking unit, as the lender tries to regain public trust amid a series of investigations into alleged money laundering.

The Stockholm-based bank said the “major organizational changes” will help simplify decision making. The move means the number of executives will drop to 14 from 17, Swedbank said on Monday. CRO Helo Meigas and the head of Baltic Banking, Charlotte Elsnitz, will no longer be with the bank after its reorganization.

Chief Executive Officer Jens Henriksson said he made the changes as part of a push to “strengthen trust.” That’s as Swedbank is investigated in Sweden, the Baltics and the U.S. amid allegations it may have handled $155 billion in potentially suspicious transactions, mostly via its Baltic operations.

Henriksson was brought in as CEO this year after his predecessor, Birgitte Bonnesen, was fired for misleading the public about the scale of the dirty-money scandal. Swedbank has also dismissed three top executives in Estonia, and appointed former Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson as its chairman.

As part of the moves announced on Monday, Henriksson shifted responsibility for Swedbank’s own review and the external probes into past shortcomings in its anti-money laundering work to a new unit, described as a special task force.

Here is a summary of the other key changes Swedbank is making:

  • The bank will merge its Group IT and Digital Banking units as it seeks to accelerate the development toward becoming an even more digital company. The new unit will be called Digital Banking & IT.
  • Large parts of the Customer Value Management operations will be brought closer to the daily banking operations by becoming a part of the business area Swedish Banking.
  • The cash management, Swedbank Pay and payment infrastructure functions are integrated within the business area Large Corporates & Institutions.
  • Swedbank is creating a new unit called Group Financial Products & Advice “to strengthen the bank’s ability to advise customers from a holistic perspective regarding both savings, insurance and loan products.”
  • Leif Karlsson, the head of Group Lending & Payments, will leave the bank as a result of the merger of the product units.
  • The bank named Gunilla Domeij Hallros acting chief risk officer and Jon Lidefelt acting head of Baltic Banking as it starts the recruitment process for those positions.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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