Nordea CEO Casper von Koskull describes himself as more of a “listening guy”.
During his international banking career, which has taken him to London, New York , Frankfurt and now Stockholm, his role has been to listen closely to customers and to the world around him. But while taking a walk in the park with Sasja Beslik, Head of Sustainable Finance at Nordea, it was Casper’s turn to talk – about the bank’s role in society, sustainability and his passion for helping customers.
“I’m passionate about clients. I like helping, when you can actually solve a problem, solve an issue and actually succeed, which doesn’t always happen,” he says, adding that when you do succeed, it gives you a sense of purpose, enjoyment and satisfaction.
In an uncertain and complex world with changing customer behaviour, we also need to be agile and resilient in order to respond to changes as we build a digital, efficient and robust bank, he says. That’s why one of the first things Casper did when he took on the position of CEO at Nordea in November 2015 was to launch a major transformation programme, strengthening our focus on customer satisfaction and promoting a strong ethics- and value-based culture.
“To really have resilience and agility I think you need to have this cultural transformation where people are also ready for change and live up to that change,” he says.
For Casper, this cultural transformation is personal. It’s something he feels very passionate about because a real sense of purpose and values will drive behaviour so that we can say “I am proud to be a customer, I am proud to be an employee, and I am proud to have Nordea in society,” he says.
Our role in society
The role of the bank in society is changing – and has to change. “What is expected from us is now, and will be, very different, and we need to respond to that change,” Casper says.
As the biggest bank in the Nordic region and one of the largest in Europe, Nordea has a big impact on people, companies and society at large, which also brings with it an enormous responsibility. “We touch really all aspects of society. We are part of society, and we are society in a way,” Casper says, adding that we also have to be honest with ourselves: “We haven’t always got it right.”
Nordea’s role in society includes not just lending money to people and businesses and managing risk but also addressing big global challenges such as climate change and sustainability. “Sustainability is a natural part of everything we do. It’s also a way of mitigating risk because not acting in a sustainable way, not acting in a responsible way… actually increases risk,” Casper says, adding that by putting sustainability at the centre of what we do, we reduce risk while also doing something good.
As Casper continues to lead Nordea towards his vision of creating a bank that is personalised and relevant for each and every customer, what has he learned as a CEO? “You need to be true to yourself. You need to open up and become more transparent,” he says.
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