Ministry looks to end golden handshakes

Calls increasing for the state to examine severance agreements given to bank managers

Officials at the Ministry for Business and Growth are examining why banks give departing CEOs million-kroner ‘golden handshakes’ despite poor performances.

Last week it was reported that the former CEO of Vestjysk Bank, Frank Kristensen, received more than 10 million kroner for retiring after the bank’s board of directors lost faith in his leadership.

Increased scrutiny over the partially state-supported banks has broad political support.

"None of us could look our constituents in the eye if we did not examine these payments,” said Socialdemokraterne's business spokesperson Benny Engelbrecht.

Executive lawyer Arvid Andersen said that the state may not be able to get around paying the severance payments.

“The state can, of course, consider withdrawing its support, but it would be more of a political decision than a legal one,” said Andersen.

Ole Birk Olesen from opposition party Liberal Alliance said it seemed strange that Kristensen was given such a large severance pay.

A ministry spokesperson declined to comment, saying only that an investigation was ongoing.