Tue, Apr 03, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Deutsche Bank plans board shifts, mulls chiefs’ future

Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank AG is preparing to reshuffle its supervisory board as the future of chief executive officer John Cryan and chairman Paul Achleitner is called into question.

Former Merrill Lynch chief executive John Thain is expected to join the troubled German bank next month, a person with knowledge of the lender’s plans said.

He is one of four nominees invited by the supervisory board to fill positions coming open this year, said the person, who asked not to be identified.

Cryan has been struggling to retain investor backing amid a slump in revenue despite resetting strategy since taking over in 2015.

Concerns about the bank’s turnaround prompted Achleitner to hold discussions with potential successors, sources said last week.

The chairman is also coming under fire for having failed to forge a recovery after going through three chief executive officers in six years.

“I definitely welcome the overhaul of the supervisory board, although I would have liked to see it happen earlier,” said Andreas Meyer, who manages fixed income securities including Deutsche Bank bonds at Aramea Asset Management in Hamburg.

Meyer said there is a shift to more directors with financial-sector backgrounds on the board, although a balance might be preferable.

“Should Achleitner now decide to replace Cryan, he has to step down as well,” Meyer said. “He has been chairman of the supervisory board since May 2012 and that means he shares responsibility for the current situation.”

Speculation about Cryan’s position prompted the executive to tell staff on Wednesday last week that he is “absolutely committed” to continuing his work.

It is the latest challenge to hit the 148-year-old institution, which has struggled to recover from the financial crisis that exploded in 2008. A sustained slide at the investment bank has contributed to hundreds of job cuts as the firm seeks to curb costs and improve returns. The shares have declined nearly 30 percent since the start of the year.

Cryan is examining activities where Europe’s largest investment bank is trailing competitors to determine if it should try to win back market share or exit, people familiar with the review said.

The relationship between Achleitner and Cryan has been strained for a while.

The chairman has been critical of the chief executive officer’s performance and was taken aback last year when Cryan discussed the prospect of a contract renewal beyond 2020 in interviews with Bloomberg and Handelsblatt, people familiar with the matter said.

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