Swedbank Names Anders Karlsson CFO as Goeran Bronner Departs

  • Karlsson has held several roles at Swedbank, also at Carnegie
  • Bronner's departure follows ousting of CEO Wolf last month

Swedbank AB named Anders Karlsson its new chief financial officer after Goeran Bronner quit, following the ousting of Chief Executive Officer Michael Wolf last month.

Karlsson, currently chief risk officer, will start his new position on July 18, when Bronner departs, Stockholm-based Swedbank said Monday. It will now start a process to find a new CRO to succeed Karlsson, who apart from various roles at Swedbank has also been CRO and CFO at Carnegie Investment Bank.

Bronner’s departure marks the latest management change at Swedbank, which last month ousted Wolf after seven years, saying that the time was ripe for a change in leadership as it tries to restore confidence lost because of real-estate deals involving some of the bank’s most senior managers, including Bronner. Less than a week later, Swedbank said Wolf had been reported to the economic crime authority after a whistle blower complained of suspicious transactions.

Bronner, who joined Sweden’s largest mortgage lender in 2009 after being headhunted by Wolf, said last month after the CEO’s departure that he was “as committed as you get in my position.” In the statement released today, Bronner said that while he has “enjoyed my years at Swedbank,” he has “considered doing something else for some time, and I have now decided to leave the bank.”

Swedbank fell as much as 2.8 percent in Stockholm trading, the steepest intraday decline in three weeks, and was down 1.5 percent at 181.5 kronor as of 2:17 p.m. local time. The stock has declined 3 percent so far this year, compared with a 16 percent drop in the Bloomberg Europe Banks and Financial Services Index. While the shares slumped 5.7 percent on Feb. 9, the day Wolf was ousted, they have gained 15 percent since then.

Bronner “spent a lot of time communicating with the market, coming to conferences,” Karl Morris, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods in London, said. “Everyone knew him, he was knowledgeable and well liked.”

Swedbank was the focus of a series of articles last year by Dagens Industri, which said Bronner and Magnus Gagner Geeber, then head of large corporates and institutions, had made investments that could be considered a conflict of interest given their leadership positions. Swedbank said in December that Gagner Geeber would leave, but denied any link to the media reports. The bank has since then repeatedly said that Bronner would remain at the bank.

“Goeran has greatly contributed to Swedbank today being one of Europe’s strongest banks with low risk and sustainable profitability,” acting CEO Birgitte Bonnesen said in the statement. “Anders has considerable experience from the banking industry and has held several key executive positions within Swedbank over many years.” 

Bronner was also one of the leading candidates to become CEO, according to Matthew Clark, an analyst with Nomura. His departure means retaining Bonnesen “takes on increased importance” for the bank, Clark said in a note Monday.

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