Ole Andersen, former Chair at Danske Bank, during the banks press conference at Tivoli Hotel and Congress Center in Copenhagen, Denmark. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ OLE JENSEN
Ole Andersen, former Chair at Danske Bank, during the banks press conference at Tivoli Hotel and Congress Center in Copenhagen, Denmark. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ OLE JENSEN

Danske Bank's largest shareholder, the Maersk family, has ousted the lender's chairman after a money-laundering scandal that also forced out its CEO.

AP Moller Holding, which controls about 21% of the bank's share capital, nominated Karsten Dybvad, who heads the Confederation of Danish Industry, to replace Ole Andersen as chairman of Denmark's largest bank.

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

"Danske Bank requires new leadership and changes to its board to strengthen its position as a leading Nordic bank," said Robert Uggla, CEO of the family's AP Moller Holding.

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

The change follows a scandal that involved €200bn in payments through Danske's Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015, many of which the bank said in a report in September it thought were suspicious.

Danske is the subject of criminal investigations in Denmark, Estonia and the US.

A new chairman was needed "to strengthen the bank's ability to address its culture, compliance programme and engagement with regulators", the leading shareholder said.

Danske Bank  CEO Thomas Borgen resigned in September when the group published the report on the transactions.

Turmoil at the bank deepened in October when Jacob Aarup-Andersen, the board's choice to take over as CEO, was rejected by the country's financial regulator because of lack of experience.

"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," said outgoing chairman Andersen.

Danish pension funds PFA and ATP supported the nomination of Dybvad as new chairman, AP Moller Holding said.

Danske said on Tuesday that it was still searching for a permanent CEO.

Reuters