Deutsche Bank Says 'Of Course' CEO Will Meet Chinese Investor

Updated on
  • CEO John Cryan has avoided meeting HNA, WSJ reported
  • China’s HNA is bank’s biggest shareholder with 9.9% stake

Deutsche Bank CEO Has Yet to Meet Top Investor

Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer John Cryan hasn’t yet met with one of the bank’s top investors but plans to do so, a spokeswoman said Sunday.

“Of course” it will happen, the spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank said, when asked about a meeting between Cryan and Adam Tan, the head of HNA Group Co., a Chinese conglomerate that bought a 9.9 percent stake in the bank this year. Cryan has been avoiding a meeting with HNA, irking Supervisory Board Chairman Paul Achleitner, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

Cryan is facing skepticism about a strategy that was unveiled in March around the time HNA was increasing its stake. Achleitner had helped attract the company as an investor, a person familiar said Sunday. HNA said in May that it had raised its stake from 3 percent in February, making it the bank’s largest investor.

HNA has come under heightened scrutiny as Chinese authorities have clamped down on foreign acquisitions by Chinese investors. The ECB, Deutsche Bank’s euro area regulator, is considering launching an owner control procedure against HNA as the Chinese company is trying to bring transparency to its own ownership structure by turning itself over to a charity.

Read more: Behind China’s Boldest Dealmaker, Billions in Pledged Shares

Two attempts to arrange a meeting between Cryan, 56, and HNA have failed, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the discussion is private. The strategic overhaul announced in March was underpinned by a rights offer that hauled in 8 billion euros ($9.4 billions) for Deutsche Bank.

Cryan told people close to him that he would prefer not to meet with HNA executives, the WSJ reported. The report also said some senior executives at Deutsche Bank have occasionally gone directly to Achleitner, 61, to garner support for important decisions, rather than dealing with Cryan. 

“It is normal for a German chairman to have regular interaction with all management board members,” the Deutsche Bank spokeswoman said.

HNA representatives didn’t respond to requests for comment on the company’s relationship with Cryan.

HNA used collar trades from UBS Group AG to finance its purchase of Deutsche Bank shares, a strategy that can reduce the amount a buyer has to commit.

— With assistance by Prudence Ho

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