The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Western Europe: Zalm considers the scale of ABN Amro’s ambition

ABN Amro has risen again. Under executive chairman Gerrit Zalm, the bank has been remodelled almost beyond recognition. Its capital and profitability are restored, and, as the Dutch mortgage market shrinks, Zalm sees its best chances for growth in the international arena.

Gerrit Zalm illustration-350

Illustration: Pete Ellis

The local reputation of ABN Amro’s chairman might surprise those who have not met him. 

At first glance, he looks like any member of a western European elite: grey-haired and besuited. But Gerrit Zalm’s well-publicized 2014 address to his bank’s employees – dressed in full drag and in the guise of a brothel madam – gives a less staid picture.

Euromoney can confirm that Zalm’s office in Amsterdam contains a large portrait of his wife and not a pinball machine. Zalm says it is “one of the myths” that his old finance minister’s office in The Hague had one. Granted, he put it in a communal area and used it from time to time. It was “part of the image”, he grins.

Answering Euromoney’s questions, Zalm’s otherwise considered and straight-faced responses are punctuated by his trademark bursts of throaty laughter. Despite his capacity for humour, the matter on which Zalm has been focused for the past nine years, as the head of ABN Amro’s management board, is extremely serious: rebuilding one of the pillars of European banking.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree