Merkel Coalition Lawmakers Applaud Deutsche Bank’s CEO Shakeup

Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks in Berlin in October 2014. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Lawmakers in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition and the opposition applauded the shakeup at Deutsche Bank AG, saying the co-chief executive officers’ replacement will strengthen the country’s biggest bank.

The joint leadership of Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen held back the Frankfurt-based bank, said Hans Michelbach, a legislator in Merkel’s Christian Democratic-led bloc who speaks on finance policy. John Cryan, the supervisory board member named Sunday to replace them, symbolizes change, he said.

“The tandem leadership hasn’t worked and Cryan’s appointment, albeit with Fitschen’s help, initially marks a new phase in the bank’s fortunes,” Michelbach said by phone. “That is an intentional signal.”

The two executives struggled to win investor support for the strategy they laid out in April after Deutsche Bank fell short of previous targets. Cryan will lead the bank alongside Fitschen for the next year after Jain leaves on June 30.

“A personnel change at the top of Deutsche Bank was overdue to win back credibility and set the bank back on a successful path,” Carsten Schneider, a Social Democratic lawmaker in Merkel’s coalition, said in a text message. The move ensures “that German taxpayers stay protected from picking up losses,” said Schneider, who oversees the party’s budget policy in the lower house.

The German government didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Deutsche Bank’s decision.

Cleanup Urged

The plan unveiled in April involves selling part of the lender’s consumer operations and shrinking its investment bank. Officials in Berlin took note, since Germany is Deutsche Bank’s single biggest market, making up 34 percent of its 31.9 billion euros ($35 billion) of revenue last year.

Forty-six percent of Deutsche Bank’s 98,138 employees were based in Germany at the end of 2014, company filings show.

Gerhard Schick, a lawmaker with the opposition Greens, said the joint stewardship wasted a chance to break with bank’s past after they replaced Josef Ackermann in 2012.

“The new management now has to clean up, above all in investment banking,” Schick said in an e-mailed statement.

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