Bloomberg News

Ackermann to Stay at Deutsche Bank to May, Weigh Next Move

November 23, 2011

(Updates with shares in last paragraph.)

Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Josef Ackermann said he could accept a future role at another company while remaining in his current post through May.

“Deutsche Bank’s supervisory board even asked me again today to say very clearly that I am staying until the end of May,” Ackermann said yesterday at an event in Passau, Germany. “If I had a position earlier, then one would have to structure things so that I can fulfill the Deutsche Bank role until the end of May. There’s absolutely no contradiction.”

Ackermann dropped a plan this month to become Frankfurt- based Deutsche Bank’s supervisory board chairman in 2012 because he said Europe’s debt crisis hasn’t given him time to win shareholder support. The CEO may become chairman of Zurich Financial Services AG, Finanz und Wirtschaft reported Nov. 19, citing unidentified people in the Swiss insurance industry. Spokesmen for both firms declined to comment on the report.

Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest lender, said last week that it will instead nominate Paul Achleitner, the finance chief of Munich-based insurer Allianz SE. Ackermann will be succeeded as CEO by management board member Juergen Fitschen and investment bank chief Anshu Jain, who will share the role.

The German bank is still preparing a summit in Switzerland where Ackermann and his colleagues will discuss Deutsche Bank’s future strategy, the CEO said on a webcast organized by Passauer Neue Presse, a German newspaper.

‘Big Question’

“The worst thing would be if Deutsche Bank were to fall into trench warfare between different business areas or between Germany and the world,” Ackermann said. “The big question is, ‘How do we adapt this business model so that we stay world-class in investment banking?’ The Swiss are almost halving this business; we haven’t and won’t go that far because I believe it is still a strength of Deutsche Bank.”

UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest lender, said last week that it plans to cut risk-weighted assets at the investment bank by 145 billion Swiss francs ($158 billion), or almost half, by 2016 under Basel III rules.

“I’m convinced it will be successful if the two work together well and have a clear division in tasks,” Ackermann, 63, said of the bank’s planned dual-CEO structure. “We need someone who is at home in investment banking and we need someone who can represent Germany and we didn’t have someone who could do both.”

Ackermann, who has led Deutsche Bank for nine years, was to replace Clemens Boersig as chairman in May. The change, announced July 25, was criticized by politicians including Wolfgang Bosbach, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, because it ran counter to German corporate governance rules.

Deutsche Bank rose 1.4 percent to 26 euros at 9:52 a.m. in Frankfurt trading. The stock has fallen 34 percent this year as Europe’s debt crisis led regulators to order banks to boost capital and lenders agreed to share losses on Greek sovereign debt.

--Editors: Peter Eichenbaum, Keith Campbell.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nicholas Comfort in Frankfurt at ncomfort1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net


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