‘I’m looking forward to further strengthening our position as one of Europe’s leading digital banks’
INTERVIEW STEVEN VAN RIJSWIJK
You have been with ING for a long time. Why do you think you were chosen to become the next CEO?
First of all I must say that I am very proud and thankful for the confidence the Supervisory Board expressed in me. It is always difficult to talk about your own qualifications for a certain job. I have been working at ING for many years, in various roles in various parts of the bank. While being at ING, I lived in Hong Kong for a while, giving me a broader perspective. And I have been fortunate to have been able to interact with many different colleagues of our wonderful company around the world.
The other way around, what attracts you to the job. You have some big shoes to fill.
If you look at all the previous CEOs it is a humbling feeling. But after working so many years with our colleagues and customers around the world, I’m looking forward to further building on our efforts to strengthen ING and enhance our position as one of Europe’s leading digital banks.
Will you now radically change the strategy?
As a member of the Executive Board over the last years I was also responsible for that strategy, so that would not be obvious. Secondly, and even more important, the heart of our strategy sits with the focus on our customers, and that doesn’t change with a new CEO. The world is changing rapidly, with evolving technology, emerging players, new regulations and changing customer needs, increasingly requiring more digitally delivered services, with mobility. I think our strategic direction is fully geared towards meeting those needs. Of course I may put different accents here and there, but there is nothing to report about that at this point. And if you look at the world around us, we also have to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, both short term and longer term.
Economically the times are challenging. Wouldn’t you have preferred an easier start?
I find it hard to pinpoint what a best time to start is. Of course these are special times for our colleagues and many people and businesses face serious challenges, including a number of our customers. Therefore we need to focus on our customers to provide support where possible as well as to communities and economies in coping with this crisis. At the same time, we also need to look longer-term, so we can come out of this crisis sustainably stronger.
In the last years you were ING’s chief risk officer. You played a key role in the enhancement of ING’s role as gatekeeper to the financial system. What have you learned from that?
That it is a continuous learning journey on many dimensions. We have become considerably better over the past couple of years and we will continuously need to develop ourselves on this front. Financial Economic Crime is an issue for society at large and we have a clear role to play here. I am also pleased to see the increasing collaboration with governments, law enforcement agencies and the police as I truly believe that will help in becoming much more effective. Financial economic crime travels beyond single banks and single borders. But combating it starts with us: we have to do the right thing and I will continue to focus on this area, also in my new role.
Steven van Rijswijk
Steven van Rijswijk was born in Utrecht in The Netherlands in 1970. He holds a master’s degree in business economics from Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Steven joined ING in October 1995 and held various positions in ING Wholesale Banking’s Corporate Finance department and was based in Amsterdam and in Hong Kong. After working in the Mergers & Acquisitions, Equity Capital Markets and Capital Structuring and Advisory teams he was appointed global head of Corporate Clients in 2012. He became global head of Client Coverage at ING Wholesale Banking in 2014, being responsible for relationship management, transaction services and corporate finance for corporate clients and financial institutions in over 40 countries.
At the Annual General Meeting of shareholders in May 2017 he was appointed to the Executive Board and became ING’s chief risk officer in August of 2017.