Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) supervisory board chairman Paul Achleitner must improve corporate governance at Germany’s biggest bank to allow management to focus on boosting shareholder returns, investors said.
“Ensure that Deutsche Bank can finally come to peace and concentrate on its operating business,” Ingo Speich, a fund manager at Union Investment, said to Achleitner in a speech at a meeting of the bank’s shareholders in Frankfurt today. “Corporate governance needs to be examined. The past shows there’s significant room for improvement here.”
Deutsche Bank shareholders will vote on motions originally passed at their annual meeting in 2012 after a Frankfurt court deemed the resolutions void because Achleitner’s predecessor, Clemens Boersig, curtailed an investor’s right to speak. Boersig also came under fire at the meeting last May for his handling of the succession of former Chief Executive Officer Josef Ackermann. Achleitner became chairman in June.
“You have to lead the bank to more integrity,” said Hans- Martin Buhlmann, chairman of the Cologne, Germany-based Association of Institutional Shareholders. “You have to create a culture of ethics for employees and clients that makes shareholders proud to own the stock and staff proud to have a Deutsche Bank identity card. You are our leader for this.”
Some shareholders voiced their disapproval of Boersig, 64, last May, with only 78 percent of investors who cast a valid vote ratifying the supervisory board’s actions compared with 99 percent signing off on those of the management board, company filings show.
Speich said his firm didn’t vote in favor of ratifying the supervisory board’s actions at the meeting last year.
Achleitner, a 56-year-old Austrian, stepped down as chief financial officer of insurer Allianz SE (ALV) to join the bank. The former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker advised Deutsche Bank on its $9 billion purchase of Bankers Trust Corp. in 1998, a key step toward becoming a global investment bank.
“We don’t want the current problems to just be the tip of the iceberg,” Speich said, without being more specific. “We need a strong and independent supervisory board that knows the subject matter so that Deutsche Bank’s business is led back into an orderly path and value can be created for shareholders.”
Union Investment is Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank’s ninth- biggest external shareholder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The fund manager for Germany’s cooperative banks said it holds about 1 percent of Deutsche Bank.
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