ING Appoints Steven van Rijswijk to Succeed Ralph Hamers as CEO

ING Groep NV appointed Steven van Rijswijk as chief executive officer as the Dutch lender contends with rising compliance costs and pressure from low interest rates.

Van Rijswijk takes over from Ralph Hamers, who will leave this month and take the helm at Swiss bank UBS Group AG in November. The current chief risk officer, who starts July 1, joined ING in 1995 and held various positions in mergers and acquisitions, equity capital markets and the capital structuring and advisory teams, the bank said on Friday.

Hamers, CEO since 2013, has been credited for adding millions of retail customers throughout Europe by relying on digital platforms rather than branches and office clerks. During his tenure, ING launched services such as mortgages that can be ordered online and an artificial intelligence tool that advises portfolio managers on bond prices.

An important task for the incoming CEO is to make sure that ING’s digital expansion contributes to the bottom line. Despite its improvements in technology, profitability failed to improve significantly under Hamers, as low interest rates put margins under pressure and the Amsterdam-based bank faces increased costs to tackle financial crime.

“Steven has shown to have the right combination of experience, leadership skills and deep understanding of our business to lead ING into the next phase of our strategic direction,” Chairman Hans Wijers said in the statement.

READ MORE: ING’s Surging Compliance Costs Overshadow Lending Gain

In 2018, ING paid a record $900 million fine to settle money laundering accusations with Dutch prosecutors, which concluded in its criminal investigation that “business often won from compliance” at ING. Public criticism on ING’s compliance issues led to the resignation of Chief Financial Officer Koos Timmermans.

Van Rijswijk becomes CEO in a country where banking executives operate under a microscope. With restrictions on pay and tough scrutiny from politicians, analysts expected ING to pick an outsider. Citigroup said ING had a “deep management bench” to pick from.

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