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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Under fire, Deutsche Bank CEO may step down early

Berlin, Nov 15:The Deutsche Bank CEO, Mr Josef Ackermann’s, surprise decision to scuttle plans for becoming the supervisory board chairman and the opening of a probe against him by the Munich prosecutor has fuelled speculation that he may make way for his designated successor Anshu Jain earlier than expected.

Mr Ackermann’s term expires next year, but it will be untenable for him to continue at the helm of Germany’s largest bank if charges that he made fraudulent statements before a court are substantiated, according to financial market analysts in Frankfurt.

His image as Germany’s top banker has already been tarnished by a police raid on his office last week as well as by the opening of a new investigation against him in connection with the ongoing court case about the compensation claims of the Munich-based Kirch Media company, which went bankrupt about 10 years ago, they said.

Deutsche Bank’s supervisory board had on July 26 named India-born Anshu Jain as co-CEO together with his management board colleague Mr Juergen Fitschen to succeed Mr Ackermann when he leaves office in May next year.

The bank’s leadership had also agreed that Mr Ackermann will replace present supervisory board chairman Mr Clemens Boersig, who will retire in May, one year ahead of his term expiring.

However, Deutsche Bank announced unexpectedly on Monday evening that he will not become a member of the supervisory board.

Mr Ackermann, 63, has informed the supervisory board that he will no longer be available as a candidate for the supervisory board when he leaves the management board, Deutsche Bank said in a press statement.

He told the supervisory board that the extremely challenging conditions in international financial markets and in the political-regulatory environment demanded his full attention as chairman of the management board.

This will not give him enough time for dialogue with individual shareholders, the statement said.

Subsequently, Mr Paul Achleitner, the management board member of Allianz, was nominated as chairman of the supervisory board to succeed Mr Boersig, the statement said.

It made no mention of the investigation against Mr Ackermann or the police raid on his office.

However, media reports said a team of investigators searched the offices of Mr Ackermann and other management board members and the bank’s legal department in Frankfurt between Tuesday and Friday.

They also raided the private residence of former Deutsche Bank CEO Rolf Breuer.

These investigations will be continued, the reports said.


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