Fitschen Plans to Promote Female Executives at Deutsche Bank

Juergen Fitschen, Deutsche Bank AG (DBK)’s co-chief executive officer designate, plans to promote female executives when he leads Germany’s biggest bank.

“There are still some fundamental weaknesses that we have to show with respect to what initially gave rise for the creation of this group -- that’s genuine diversity,” Fitschen said today at a conference on women in business organized by the bank in Frankfurt.

Germany, unlike some countries in Europe, hasn’t set quotas to improve the balance of female representation in corporate management. Norway was first in 2003 to enforce female minimums, and Spain followed in 2007. France passed laws this year and last that impose a 40 percent representation quota for boards and in top administration jobs by 2017.

“At the supervisory board level we today have a participation rate of 40 percent, which is excellent, but we haven’t followed yet at the executive level,” Fitschen said before a speech by Viviane Reding, the European Union’s justice chief. “Give us a bit of time and then we will deliver.”

Deutsche Bank’s group executive committee has no female representatives, according to the bank’s website. The committee is the second-highest ranking body after the management board and helps coordinate the company’s businesses and regions.

Gender Diversity

“Over lunch with Dr. Reding, we talked about gender diversity,” Fitschen, 63, said at the 13th Women in European Business Conference. “I said ‘rest assured, I won’t retire before we have done good also at the executive level, at the GEC.’”

German Labor Minister Ursula von der Leyen wants rules that would require women to hold at least 30 percent of positions on management and supervisory boards at Germany’s largest listed companies by 2020, according to the ministry.

Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann drew criticism from German ministers last year by saying that adding a woman to the board would make it “more colorful and prettier.”

Fitschen, the longest-standing employee of the bank on the management board, and investment bank chief Anshu Jain will take over from Ackermann at the end of May.

“If we want to keep our economic strength in Europe, then we can’t forgo half the talent in a situation with more older people and less younger people,” Reding told reporters at the conference today. “This is a question of survival.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Nicholas Comfort in Frankfurt at ncomfort1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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