Thursday 09 April 2020

ABN Amro managers sound alarm about lack of leadership: FD

Amsterdam’s Zuidas business district. Photo: DutchNews.nl

Senior managers at ABN Amro have alerted Dutch banking sector watchdogs DNB (the central bank) and AFM, as well as the finance ministry as majority shareholder, about a crisis of confidence at the top.

The managers, 21 in total, cite a lack of direction and strategy and warn that ABN Amro will ultimately be taken over, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Friday.

The letter which requested action on the part of the watchdogs was sent in January and both ABN Amro and the FD have copies. In written statements, the managers told the FD that there has been no improvement since then. ‘The situation remains dire.’

The concerns of the managers centre around former supervisory board chairman Olga Zoutendijk. ‘She had absolutely no feeling for human relationships and created a culture of fear,’ one of the managers wrote to the watchdogs.

They also claimed that the bank’s current CEO Kees van Dijkhuizen is not a leader: ‘he is practically invisible’. The direction the bank is taking is unclear. There is no strategy, the FD recounts.

Writing such a letter to the watchdogs is unprecedented and goes against the grain of the business community, the FD points out.

Problems with policy or with individuals are handled in talks with executives or by means of the internal watchdog structure. Sources in and around ABN Amro say the bank has been reviewing its strategy for months, the FD said.

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