February 9, 2018 / 3:33 PM / 10 days ago

ECB investigates ABN Amro board after chairwoman leaves post

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The European Central Bank (ECB) is investigating the way the board of Dutch bank ABN Amro (ABNd.AS) operates after an internal row led to the chairwoman leaving her post, the Dutch finance minister said on Friday.

ABN Amro said on Tuesday an internal discussion about the “leadership style” of Chairwoman Olga Zoutendijk prompted her to say she would not seek reappointment in July. The bank said she would be a regular supervisory board member until then.

ABN Amro, one of three dominant banks in the Dutch market, is among 119 euro zone banks under direct supervision of the ECB with the local regulator, which in the Netherlands is the central bank DNB.

Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra told reporters the ECB had started an investigation, commenting after the Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad reported the probe earlier on Friday.

Zoutendijk, previously a manager at Standard Chartered (STAN.L), joined ABN’s supervisory board in 2014 and became chairwoman in 2016, six months after the initial public offering that marked ABN Amro’s return to public markets after it was nationalised due to the 2008 financial crisis.

    The state still has a 56 percent stake in ABN Amro but is winding down its holdings.

    DNB spokesman Tobias Oudejans declined to comment on the ABN Amro case, but said regulators in general were paying more attention to the dynamics of how board members and managers worked together in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

    An ABN Amro spokesman declined comment and said Zoutendijk was not available for comment. The ECB also did not comment.

    Reporting by Bart Meijer and Toby Sterling; Additional reporting by Francesco Canepa; Editing by Edmund Blair

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