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Deutsche Bank: The Paul Achleitner era is coming to an end


After two rounds of zero, Deutsche Bank shareholders can expect a dividend again. More important at this year's annual general meeting, however, is the farewell to the chairman of the supervisory board, Paul Achleitner.

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Chairman of the Supervisory Board Achleitner: Starting conditions in 2012 assessed differently

Photo: Boris Roessler / dpa

It's over after ten years in office: Paul Achleitner is resigning from his position as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank.

For the last time, the now 65-year-old Austrian will chair the general meeting of the Frankfurt Dax group this Thursday, which will again be held online.

The bank has already decided on a successor: the Dutchman Alexander (Alex) Wynaendts is standing for election as the new chief controller of Germany's largest financial institution.

Wynaendts began his career at ABN Amro, where he spent 13 years in wealthy private clients and investment banking in Amsterdam and London.

From 2008 to 2020 he was head of the Dutch insurance group Aegon.

The timing for Achleitner's departure seems favorable: after a long dry spell and a restructuring of the group, including the loss of thousands of jobs, Deutsche Bank's business has recently been better again.

Last year, the money house achieved the highest annual profit since 2011, the current year began with a profit in the billions in the first quarter.

20 cents per share

The share price left the record low of just under EUR 4.45 a good way behind.

After two rounds of zero, shareholders can once again expect a dividend of 20 cents per share for the 2021 financial year.

The Annual General Meeting will decide on a distribution of around 400 million euros.

At least Achleitner seems to be spared the almost traditional motion of no confidence at the start of the general meeting at his farewell performance.


Achleitner is leaving the Supervisory Board anyway, his lack of reliability is no longer relevant for the future," writes shareholder Karl-Walter Freitag, who has repeatedly spoken out with criticism for years, in his almost 50-page supplementary motion to this year's general assembly.

CEO Christian Sewing, on the other hand, wants to withdraw his trust.

In his extensive supplementary motion to the agenda, Freitag accuses, among other things, breaches of duty, conflicts of interest and a lack of impartiality.

The Deutsche Bank announced that the application submitted under the name of the Riebeck-Brauerei von 1862 AG was "spiked (...) with half-truths and conspiracy theories".

As in previous years, the bank is “relaxed” about the application.

Farewell self-criticism

Achleitner held onto one of the most important posts in the German economy for a remarkably long time.

As recently as 2019, he appeared to be a chief controller on probation, and shareholders called for the “Achleitner system to be deselected”.

Since taking office in mid-2012, it has become increasingly clear that the house was by no means “swept clean”, as Josef Ackermann had announced when he left in spring 2012 after a decade as head of Deutsche Bank.

In Achleitner's previously published speech at this year's Annual General Meeting, the outgoing chief auditor was self-critical: "I, too, assessed the starting conditions in 2012 differently than they are today in retrospect," says the text of the speech.

»The alleged strength with which Deutsche Bank emerged from the financial market crisis ultimately turned out to be more of an obstacle.

The inflated self-image stood in the way of the change that was so urgently needed.«

While the US competition cleared out balance sheets and businesses immediately after the financial crisis, Deutsche Bank muddled through.

And Achleitner had to put up with the question of whether the financial institution would not be in a better position if the supervisory board hadn't stuck with the wrong managers for too long.

Sewing is the fourth CEO in Achleitner's tenure.

For a long time it looked as if Achleitner, once celebrated as a deal-maker, had lost his luck in the mammoth task of realigning Deutsche Bank.

Sewing's previous balance sheet, on the other hand, gives Achleitner a more forgiving farewell: Germany's largest financial institution is paying out profits for the first time since the 2018 financial year.


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-05-16

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