Jens Henriksson, a former board member responsible for the Nordics at the International Monetary Fund, said that the bank still faced difficult challenges in his first meeting with journalists on Thursday.
“It's a crisis situation, I would say. Swedbank and money laundering shouldn't be seen together in the same sentence.”
But he said he was still excited about taking on the role.
“I feel overwhelmed and humbled. Yesterday I was asked by the board to become chairman of Sweden's finest bank. What drew me to the job is a combination of 'important', 'difficult' and 'exciting'.
Swedbank announced the appointment in a press release issued on Wednesday evening.
Henriksson, who was most recently chief executive of the Folksam insurance company, was a senior civil servant between 2002 and 2006 when Göran Persson, Swedbank's new chairman, was prime minister.
He has also been chief executive of the Stockholm Stock Exchange Nasdaq OMX, and represented the Nordic and Baltic countries on the board of the IMF at the time of the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.
He replaces Anders Karlsson, who has been serving as temporary chief executive since March 28th 2019.
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At the conference, Persson said the board had felt that Henriksson was “unusually well suited” to the role.
“Few people in our recruitment list have a more international perspective than Jens Henriksson,” he said. “What people often forget when they look at his CV are his years as a state secretary, and his responsibility for the financial committee in the European Union.
“Then naturally, this is a fully mature man, even if I find it difficult to see that, as I remember when I hired him as a 26-year-old.”