Swedbank CRO and Baltic Banking Unit Head Step Down Amid Money Laundering Probe

Photo credit: reuters

Helo Meigas, Swedbank CRO and Charlotte Elsnitz, Baltic banking unit head are stepping down as Swedbank AB tries to regain public trust amid investigations into alleged money laundering.

Swedbank, a Stockholm-based bank is going through “major organizational changes” which will help streamline decision making. The restructuring of executives means, the number will drop from 17 to 14. 

CEO Jens Henriksson made the changes as part of a push to “strengthen trust.” As Swedbank is being investigated in Sweden, the Baltics and the U.S. amid money laundering allegations it may have handled $155 billion in potentially suspicious transactions, most of which was via its Baltic operations.

Henriksson became 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.

A special task force unit has been established to take on the responsibility of Swedbank’s own review and the external probes into past shortcomings in its anti-money laundering work.

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.