• Leithner is joining Swedish private equity firm as partner
  • Rising star was among bank's managers criticized by Bafin

Deutsche Bank AG board member Stephan Leithner, once a rising star at the company, is leaving to join private equity firm EQT Partners AB as Germany’s biggest bank reshapes its strategy and businesses, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Leithner, who joined Deutsche Bank in 2000 in its advisory group and was promoted to the board in 2012, will join the Swedish buyout firm as a partner, said the people, who asked not to be identified because talks are private. He will probably be based in Munich and help EQT continue growing European investments, they said.

Leithner didn’t return calls to his mobile phone and an e-mail. Klaus Winker, a spokesman for Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, declined to comment. A representative for EQT declined to comment.

Co-Chief Executive Officer John Cryan is considering abolishing the 19-member group executive committee, which advises the management board, and promoting managers to the board, a person familiar with the plan said in August. Leithner was among managers criticized by German regulator Bafin in May for the bank’s handling of interest-rate rigging. Bafin said management failed to prevent and adequately address attempted rigging.

Deutsche Bank has said reviews found no current or former members of the management board were involved in or aware of the misconduct.

A year ago, Leithner, who is CEO for Europe outside the U.K. and Germany, gave up responsibility for legal matters while he continued to head regulatory affairs, compliance and personnel. He joined the lender from McKinsey & Co. and was previously responsible for German and European mergers and acquisitions. He was long considered a rising star at Deutsche Bank and even seen as a potential CEO candidate.

EQT is the Nordic region’s biggest private equity fund and was co-founded in 1994 by the Swedish billionaire Wallenberg family’s Investor AB. The firm announced in August that it closed fundraising for a new 6.75 billion-euro ($7.69 billion) fund that’ll focus on acquisitions in Northern Europe. EQT owns about 70 companies with 140,000 employees and 17 billion euros in sales around the world, according to its website.

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