Deutsche Bank is probably planning a special meeting on Achleitner’s successor

Paul Achleitner

The incumbent Chairman of the Supervisory Board will no longer run for another term in the coming year.

(Photo: dpa)

Frankfurt Deutsche Bank convened its supervisory board for an extraordinary meeting over the weekend. According to information from the Handelsblatt, the meeting will primarily focus on candidates for the successor to supervisory board chairman Paul Achleitner.

According to financial circles, a preliminary decision could be made in the coming days and then announced. The name of the likely future chairman of the supervisory board is still unknown, according to the information it is said to be a male German-speaking candidate from outside the bank who is well versed in the financial sector, but does not correspond to the classic banker profile.

The aim of the bank is now to agree on a candidate, it is said in financial circles. A formal nomination could be announced in the spring when the money house invites the shareholders to the general meeting. The Bloomberg news agency had first reported on the extraordinary board meeting over the weekend.

Pressure from supervision

The financial supervisors had been pushing for a succession plan in recent months. The supervisory authority does not want the Deutsche Bank to take too much time with the personnel, people familiar with the matter told the Handelsblatt.

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It is important to the bank supervisors that a successor has sufficient time to familiarize himself with the complex issues. It was therefore considered likely that the bank would make a decision before the end of the year.
The banking supervisory authority is now paying close attention to who is going to join the supervisory board of financial institutions and, in extreme cases, can also reject personnel decisions if it does not consider candidates to be professionally qualified or if they fear conflicts of interest.

This was most recently the case at Deutsche Bank when the now deceased ex-UBS banker Jürg Zeltner was appointed. Since the supervisory authority was only informed about the personnel at a time when Zeltner was already on the supervisory board, the conflict escalated at the time. The manager then withdrew from the post and was later replaced by the SPD politician Sigmar Gabriel.

Weimer and Winkeljohann had canceled

Internal candidates such as Deutsche Börse boss Theo Weimer, the former VW CFO Frank Witter and the former auditor Norbert Winkeljohann have long been considered possible candidates. However, Weimer had repeatedly made it clear that he wanted to fulfill his contract with Deutsche Börse, which runs until the end of 2024. Winkeljohann had indicated that he felt that his position as chairman of the board of the chemical giant Bayer was sufficiently busy.

Achleitner commissioned the former investment banker Mayree Clark with the search for a successor at an early stage. Clark had set up an open search process and made it explicitly clear that she also wanted to scrutinize external candidates.

Clark is considered an expert in good corporate governance. After her time as an investment banker, she founded the Eachwin investment fund, which primarily relies on the quality of management as a selection criterion.

The new chairman of the supervisory board would take over from CEO Christian Sewing a few months after a strategy presentation in which he will set out his vision for the bank – after a four-year, sometimes painful restructuring.

Achleitner took up his post more than nine years ago and in this role accompanied a number of CEOs and a massive decline in the share price.

More: Mayree Clark is supposed to do one of the most delicate jobs in the German banking scene

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