ABN Amro boss reveals 'Priscilla' alter ego to staff

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Media captionThe chairman dressed up as his alter-ego "Priscilla Zalm"

ABN Amro chairman Gerrit Zalm has tried a novel approach to making corporate speeches more interesting.

The former Dutch finance minister dressed up as his fictional sister "Priscilla" and regaled the bank's staff with tales of "her" experience running brothels.

The innuendo-laden speech, delivered in Dutch, was aimed at explaining the bank's "core values and business principles", a spokesman said.

Up to 6,000 staff heard the speech.

The bank's 23,000 employees might need cheering up, given its ignominious fall from grace several years ago.

The once powerful Amsterdam-based bank came a cropper after reckless international expansion made it vulnerable to takeover.

Bail out

In 2007, it was acquired by the Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander and Fortis and, in effect, broken up.

But when the financial crisis ripped through the industry in 2009, the Dutch government had to bail out the remaining parts of ABN and Fortis to the tune of 30bn euros (£25bn).

ABN Amro was reconstituted as a nationalised bank.

Explaining Mr Zalm's performance, a bank spokesman told the BBC: "ABN Amro has a tradition in cabaret. Since 2005, employees of the bank organise this event for other employees.

"Gerrit Zalm always provides the introduction or opening act, and since it's cabaret, it's funny and tongue-in-cheek."

In previous years, Mr Zalm has performed as his fictional brother and as a circus director, he said.

"This form of cabaret is typically Dutch and fits perfectly with the Dutch sense of humour," the spokesman added.