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Copenhagen Business School

Per Holten-Andersen: We discussed terminating all collaboration with Danske Bank

Former CEO of Danske Bank, Thomas F. Borgen, was invited to spend an academic year at CBS as an Executive in Resident from September 2017 to 2018. (Photo: Ulrik Jantzen)

"If CBS wasn’t bound by Danish law, we would have considered going further in terminating its collaboration with whitewash-hit Danske Bank," says Per Holten-Andersen in CBS WIRE’s podcast ‘Grade focus, foreign researchers and Danske Bank: A farewell from Per Holten-Andersen’.

News |   30. Jan 2019

Jakob Slyngborg Trolle

Journalist

Retiring president of CBS, Per Holten Andersen reveals that it was legislation and not the will of CBS that prevented the school from cutting further collaboration with Danske Bank.

Collaboration that includes event sponsorship, research funding worth several million kroner, and logo sponsorship in an auditorium – just to name a few examples.

“We requested a legal evaluation of what we could do, and the verdict was clear. Existing collaboration with Danske Bank could not just be terminated without potential consequences for CBS. We would have been breaking the law and could potentially be subject to a lawsuit. That’s why we decided not to terminate all contracts with Danske Bank,” says Per Holten-Andersen in CBS WIRE’s podcast.

This statement sheds new light on the school’s decision to continue existing cooperation with Danske Bank and to terminate only future involvement after it became clear that the bank was deeply involved in one of Europe’s biggest bank scandals.

“These are not the morals or ethics we want to convey to our students. We considered going further.”

How much further would you have gone? Would you have terminated all collaboration?

 “To answer that clearly, I would have to go into every aspect of every collaboration with Danske Bank. But in principle, yes.

A necessary decision

The harsh actions – or at least the intended harsh actions – are part of CBS’ responsibility towards its students.

“As a university that delivers a third of all top leaders for the private sector, we simply had to react. We wanted to send a clear signal that this type of leadership is not one that we condone, and it’s certainly not the type of role model we want for our students,” says Per Holten-Andersen before he concludes:

“We need role models who dare to make the right decisions. Not only when it favors you, but also when it costs you profit.”

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