Deutsche Bank’s Neske Said to Resign as Overhaul Kicks In

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Rainer Neske
Rainer Neske, member of the board of Deutsche Bank AG. Photographer: Ralph Orlowski/Bloomberg

Rainer Neske, the head of Deutsche Bank AG’s private and business clients division, is poised to step down as the firm prepares to cut back its consumer unit, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Neske, 50, sits on the lender’s eight-member management board, where he has overseen the company’s retail operations. He had pushed for the bank to sell all of that business as a stand-alone company, said the person, asking not to be identified because his departure hasn’t been announced. The bank’s supervisory board meets Wednesday and his successor may be named as soon as this week, the person said.

“When you lose half of your customers, that’s a hard hit for the private customers business -- and for Neske,” said Dieter Hein, an analyst at Fairesearch/AlphaValue in Kronberg, Germany, who rates Deutsche Bank a reduce. “The bank now needs to find someone who can execute the new strategy.”

Co-Chief Executive Officers Juergen Fitschen and Anshu Jain plan to sell a stake in the Postbank retail unit and scale back the securities division in the biggest overhaul since taking charge three years ago. Neske joined Deutsche Bank in 1990. Handelsblatt reported his exit earlier Monday.

Christian Ricken, chief operating officer of private and business clients and a member of Deutsche Bank’s group executive committee, is a probable successor, Der Spiegel reported on its website.

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Klaus Winker, a company spokesman, declined to comment on Neske’s plans. Calls to Neske’s office were answered by a switchboard operator, who declined to put a reporter in contact with him. Neske didn’t respond to an e-mail to his office. Ricken’s office declined to make him available for comment.

Revenue at the private and business clients operation totaled 2.47 billion euros in the first quarter, less than a quarter of Deutsche Bank’s 10.4 billion-euro total for the period. The business accounted for about a third of Deutsche Bank’s pretax profit in the first three months of the year.

Deutsche Bank is set to hold its annual shareholder meeting on May 21. Shareholder groups including ISS Proxy Advisory Services and Ivox GmbH have criticized management and called on investors to be wary of backing management at the meeting. Some investors have questioned the CEOs’ ability to revive returns after targets were missed and regulatory probes boosted legal bills and raised concern about internal oversight.

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