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Danske Bank hires finance chief from Commerzbank in shake-up

Danske Bank hires finance chief from Commerzbank in shake-up
FILE PHOTO: Commerzbank CFO Stephan Engels attends the bank's annual news conference in Frankfurt, Germany, February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski -
Ralph Orlowski(Reuters)
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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Danske Bank <DANSKE.CO> named Stephan Engels from Commerzbank <CBKG.DE> as its finance chief on Thursday, the latest step by the Danish lender’s new boss to restore trust after its involvement in a damaging money laundering scandal.

Danske is under investigation in the United States and several other countries for payments totalling 200 billion euros through its small Estonian branch, many of which the bank said were suspicious.

For Commerzbank, the unexpected departure of Engels, its long-time chief financial officer, comes as the German bank is in the middle of a review of its strategy following this year’s failed merger talks with Deutsche Bank <DBKGn.DE>.

Commerzbank, Germany’s second-largest bank behind Deutsche, is looking at possible staff cuts and closing some branches, sources have told Reuters.

Danske Chief Executive Chris Vogelzang, who joined Denmark’s largest bank on June 1, sacked former interim CEO Jesper Nielsen that month as he sought to draw a line under the money laundering scandal, which rocked investor confidence and prompted investigations around the world.

Danske also said on Thursday that Berit Behring, who oversees the bank’s Swedish operations, will take over as new head of wealth management from Jacob Aarup-Andersen.

Andersen will take up the position as CFO until Engels joins the bank in April next year, and will the move to a position as head of Danish banking activities, Danske said.

The bank also said it is looking to replace Jim Ditmore, who will step down as chief operating officer.

(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Tom Sims; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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