Deutsche Bank Said to Weigh Jain as Co-CEO After Ackermann
Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), Germany’s biggest bank, may name investment-banking head Anshu Jain co-chief executive officer alongside a German-speaking board member to succeed Josef Ackermann, people familiar with matter said.
Jain, 48, might be partnered with Juergen Fitschen, 62, Rainer Neske, 46, or another management board member to allay concerns over making a non-German-speaking investment banker sole CEO, said the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private and no decision has been made.
Jain, a native of India who heads the corporate and investment bank, became the frontrunner after UBS AG (UBSN) announced the hiring of Axel Weber as chairman last week, removing the ex-Bundesbank chief from contention for the top job at Deutsche Bank. Investors including Hermes Equity Ownership Services, which represents more than 20 pension funds and asset managers, have urged the Frankfurt-based bank to map out a succession plan for the 63-year-old Ackermann, whose contract expires in 2013.
“I’m a fan of an internal solution and Jain is a suitable candidate,” said Daniel Hupfer, who helps manage about $46 billion in assets, including Deutsche Bank shares, at M.M. Warburg in Hamburg. “I’d prefer dual leadership because his partner could cover the German political role that comes with the job.”
Boersig Leading Search
That aspect of running Germany’s largest bank was on display last week, when Ackermann stood beside Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in Berlin to announce an agreement by the country’s banks and insurers to roll over Greek debt holdings. Ackermann has run the company since 2002.
Chairman Clemens Boersig, 62, who is leading the search for a new CEO, plans a meeting of the supervisory board’s nomination committee on July 10 to discuss succession, and the full 20-member body is likely to meet shortly thereafter, one of the people said.
Boersig will seek backing for Jain and an unidentified German member of the management board, newspaper Bild said, without saying where it got the information. Deutsche Bank spokesman Armin Niedermeier declined to comment.
Deutsche Bank shares fell 2.2 percent to 39.85 euros in Frankfurt trading. The stock has gained almost 2 percent this year, valuing the bank at about 37 billion euros ($53 billion).
While Ackermann’s contract runs until the spring of 2013, he may leave earlier and the bank could designate a successor by the end of this year, people familiar with the matter have said. Additional candidates for the CEO job include Chief Risk Officer Hugo Banziger, 55, and Chief Financial Officer Stefan Krause, 48, people have previously said.
Fitschen would make a good co-head to Jain because as CEO Germany, he’s well connected in the domestic political and business community and he’s also the head of regional management worldwide, the people said.
This weekend, Boersig will propose Jain and Fitschen as co-heads, a solution that has received the backing of Jain and other management board members, Die Welt reported today, without saying where it got the information. Ackermann would prefer teaming Jain with Banziger and he’s trying to convince the supervisory board to support that combination, the paper said.
Ackermann as Chairman?
Deutsche Bank has qualified internal candidates and doesn’t need an external executive, a person familiar with the supervisory board’s deliberations said last week.
Some investors have voiced concern about having dual CEOs, citing the potential for a power struggle. The German bank periodically had co-CEOs in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
“I’m never sure about joint leadership, I’d rather have one person at the top,” said Andrea Williams, who helps manage about 720 million pounds ($1.2 billion), including Deutsche Bank shares, at Royal London Asset Management. “There’s some concern about the political element of the job but I don’t think there should be. I don’t see the hang-up of a non-Germanic and non-political CEO who is operationally more adequate for the job.”
Ackermann may consider taking over the supervisory board as chairman where he could help run the bank alongside a CEO such as Jain, one person said last week. Spiegel magazine reported on its web site yesterday that nine of the 10 labor representatives on the supervisory board had voiced support for naming Ackermann chairman, without saying where it got the information.
Deutsche Bank’s supervisory board failed to agree on a successor in 2009, and extended Ackermann’s tenure for three years. Boersig put himself forward as Ackermann’s replacement at the time and was rebuffed by labor union representatives on the board, people familiar with the matter said then.
Handelsblatt reported last week that pressure was intensifying on Boersig after he failed to lure Weber to the bank.
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