In this article we explore ways in which vertical gender inequality is accomplished in discourse in the context of a recent chain of cross‐border mergers and acquisitions that resulted in the formation of a multinational Nordic company. We analyse social interactions of ‘doing’ gender in interviews with male senior executives from Denmark, Finland and Sweden. We argue that their explanations for the absence of women in the top echelons of the company serve to distance vertical gender inequality. The main contribution of the article is an analysis of how national identities are discursively (re)constructed in such distancing. New insights are offered to studying gender in multinationals with a cross‐cultural team of researchers. Our study sheds light on how gender intersects with nationality in shaping the multinational organization and the identities of male executives in globalizing business.