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  5. Board of directors

Board of directors

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Mikael Hallåker, Chairman

Mikael has worked for the parent company Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ) since 2001 and is currently the Chairman of the Board for two other Group subsidiaries: Handelsbanken Liv (life insurance) and Handelsbanken Fastigheter (property company). He is also a board member of Stadshypotek (a mortgage subsidiary), the Group's pension fund and the Group's pension trust. Mikael was previously Head of Investor Relations and Rating at Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ) and has experience in investment banking and from the insurance industry in Sweden. 

Board committee memberships
Board Remuneration Committee
Board IT Strategy Committee

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Maureen Laurie , Independent Non-Executive Director, Chair of the Board Remuneration Committee

Maureen Laurie’s background is in international financial services, news and the public sector, having held senior HR roles for Reuters, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Standard Chartered Bank Plc, Barclays International and Private Banking, London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE), Euronext NV/NYSE Inc and the British Council. She has also served as a Non-Executive Trustee Director and Independent Governor for London Metropolitan University; Independent Non-Executive Director and Remuneration Committee Chair for the Cooperative Bank Plc, and as an elected Trustee Director for Reuters Pension Fund Limited/Refinitiv.

Board committee memberships
Board Remuneration Committee (Chair)
Board Nomination Committee
Board IT Strategy Committee

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John Ellacott, Independent Non-Executive Director, Chair of the Board Audit Committee

John Ellacott worked at KPMG for 33 years, including 21 years as a Partner, before retiring in September 2017. At KPMG, John was primarily an auditor, but also provided advisory services covering strategy, regulatory transactions and listings both in the UK and internationally. John specialised in the financial sector and has worked with many of the UK’s leading banks and building societies. John was a Governor of Giggleswick School and has also served on the regional board of the Prince’s Trust.

Board committee memberships
Board Audit Committee (Chair)
Board Risk and Compliance Committee
Board Remuneration Committee

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Agneta Lilja, Non-Executive Director, Chair of the Board Nomination Committee

Agneta Lilja started her career in Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ.) in 1981 and during her time in the bank has held senior positions as Head of Handelsbanken International as well as an area manager in the Bank’s Stockholm region. Between 2010 and 2019 she has been a member of Handelsbanken AB (publ.) senior management, as Head of Central Infrastructure, Chief Information Officer and Executive Director. Agneta retired from Handelsbanken AB (publ.) in March 2019 and from 1 April became an appointed non-executive director of Handelsbanken plc.

Board committee memberships

Board Nomination Committee (Chair)
Board IT Strategy Committee (Chair)
Board Risk and Compliance Committee

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Margaret Willis, Independent Non-Executive Director

Margaret has over 40 years’ experience in financial services, having held a number of senior roles. Until recently she was CEO of Unity Trust Bank and prior to that she undertook roles within HSBC in the UK, US and Canada. She was a member of HSBC European executive and risk management committee and diversity council. Her board experience included HSBC Securities and Global Asset Management, Canada. She returned to the UK in 2012 to lead HSBC Wealth Management Europe.

Margaret is the Chair of Music for Youth, a national, UK- based youth arts charity.

Board committee memberships
Board Remuneration Committee
Board Risk and Compliance Committee 
Board Audit Committee
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Arja Taaveniku, Non-Executive Director

Arja has extensive experience of Handelsbanken, as she is an independent non-executive director of the Bank’s shareholder Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ). 

She is an experienced business leader, having spent over 30 years in leadership positions with a number of international retail organisations. She was with IKEA Group between 1989 and 2012, where she fulfilled various roles, including seven years as a global business director.

Between 2012 and 2015 she was CEO of Ikano Group, a privately-owned international business that develops, owns and manages companies in consumer banking, insurance, residential and shopping centres, and a franchisee of IKEA stores. From 2015 to 2018 Arja, was on the group executive board for Kingfisher, as CEO of its subsidiary, Kingfisher International Products.

She is chair of the board at Svenska Handelsfastigheter AB, and holds non-executive director positions at Nobia Group and the FTSE250 Dunelm plc. She is now also chairman of the board at Polarn O. Pyret.

Board committee memberships
Board Risk and Compliance Committee
Board IT Strategy Committee

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Mikael Sørensen, Chief Executive Officer

Mikael Sorensen was appointed CEO of Handelsbanken UK in September 2016. Before joining the UK, Mikael worked in numerous roles and regions across the Handelsbanken Group, including Branch Manager and Regional Area Manager in Denmark, General Manager in Poland, and as CEO in the Netherlands from 2007 to 2016. He has been a member of Handelsbanken’s Group Senior Management since 2013. Mikael sits on the Council of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, a not for profit organisation aimed at supporting entrepreneurs and businesses within the Swedish-British business community.

Board committee memberships
None

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Martin Björnberg, Chief Financial Officer

Martin Björnberg joined Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ.) in 1989. Martin started working in the Bank’s branch operations as an account manager before moving to IT and business development operations where he led improvement and efficiency programmes for the Bank’s retail processes. Between 2002 and 2017 Martin moved on to hold senior management positions in one of the Swedish regions. He was also Head of HR for the Swedish Regional banks unit in Stockholm. Martin has held his current position of Chief Financial Officer for Handelsbanken’s UK operation since April 2017.

Board committee memberships
None