Deutsche Bank’s Qatari Backers Lift Stake, Suggest Board Memberby
Stock has fallen more than 50% since August stake disclosure
Stefan Simon to fill Georg Thoma’s slot on supervisory board
Deutsche Bank AG said two investment vehicles of members of the Qatari royal family, which are among its biggest shareholders, increased their stakes in the company after the stock slid.
Paramount Services Holdings and Supreme Universal Holdings raised their respective stakes to “just under” 5 percent, the lender said in a statement from Frankfurt on Friday. Deutsche Bank didn’t say when or at what price the additional shares were purchased.
The investment companies held stakes of 3.05 percent each on Aug. 20 of last year, according to Deutsche Bank’s website. The stock has fallen by more than 50 percent since then.
Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Officer John Cryan is trying to reverse the stock slump, which has made his firm the worst-valued global investment bank, by shrinking assets and eliminating jobs. His task has become harder as the prospect of slower economic growth after the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union risks deterring securities sales and major deals.
“We are pleased that our Qatari shareholders are banking on the success of Deutsche Bank as shown through their long-term holdings,” Paul Achleitner, chairman of the company’s supervisory board, said in the statement.
Deutsche Bank also nominated Stefan Simon to join its supervisory board after his candidacy had been suggested by the two Qatari shareholders, the company said. The supervisory boards of German companies are made up of shareholder and employee representatives. While investors can make suggestions for nominations, it’s uncommon for companies to publicly disclose their wishes.
Simon, a partner at law firm Flick Gocke Schaumburg in Bonn, replaces Georg Thoma and is expected to stand for election to the board at the annual shareholder meeting next year. The bank has submitted an application to a Frankfurt court for Simon, 46, to be appointed by court order until then, according to the statement.
Thoma stepped down in May, two years before his contract was scheduled to end, after criticism that he went too far in probing potential wrongdoing at the bank. The Shearman & Sterling LLP lawyer was left isolated after pushing to investigate Achleitner and mounting intensive inquiries into Deutsche Bank executives, people familiar with the matter have said.
In April, Deputy Chairman Alfred Herling accused him of being “overzealous” and spending too much time and money probing potential wrongdoing. At the time, Thoma didn’t respond to requests for comment on those assertions.
Louise Parent, a U.S. attorney who replaced Thoma as head of the board’s integrity committee on an interim basis, will do so permanently, according to the statement.