Former Aegon CEO succeeds Paul Achleitner as chairman of Deutsche Bank

Dutch insurance veteran and Citigroup board member Alex Wynaendts will succeed Paul Achleitner as Deutsche Bank president next year, the German lender announced late Friday night, ending ended the months-long search its managers had become. growing impatient.

Wynaendts retired as chief executive officer at Dutch insurer Aegon last year after 12 years in the role.

Achleitner, a former Goldman Sachs banker and chief financial officer of Allianz, joined Deutsche Bank’s board in 2012 and last year said he would not be serving a third five-year term in 2022.

The 65-year-old Austrian has been at the center of constant criticism from investors and analysts as Deutsche Bank has gone through a very difficult period in recent years. Its investment banking has been hit hard in the aftermath of the financial crisis and has adjusted much later than its peers in the United States to the new environment.

At the end of 2019, private equity investor Cerberus promote Achleitners exit, try replace him with former Morgan Stanley chairman Colm Kelleher.

Under Achleitner’s watch, Deutsche Bank generated a total net loss of 12 billion euros, embarked on five strategic adjustments and replaced executives three times, a total of 17 executives. When the passengers left early, Deutsche paid for them. 83 million euros when leaving.

The lender raised 19.5 billion euros in new capital, spent several billion on payments and penalties, and suffered a 70% reduction in the share price. However, since the appointment of chief executive officer Christian Sewing in 2018 after intense meeting room battle, the lender has stabilized and is profitable again. In the past three years, its share price has increased by 32%.

Since at least early 2021, the ECB has been urging the lender to come up with a clear succession plan. Europe’s top banking regulator exclusively told the bank that it wanted to be involved in the decision and was concerned that Deutsche would present the nomination as a wrongdoer before next year’s annual shareholder meeting.

Paul Achleitner last year said he would not be available for a third five-year term in 2022 © REUTERS

Deutsche Börse CEO Theo Weimer, who sits on Deutsche Bank’s supervisory board and has long been considered Achleitner’s most likely successor, but has signaled that he has no interest in becoming the owner. president. Weimer will have to resign soon from his job at Deutsche Börse, where his contract expires in 2024.

Deutsche on Friday night also announced that Norbert Winkeljohann, who joined the supervisory board in 2018 and is also the chairman of German chemical giant Bayer, will become vice chairman.

On Friday night, Deutsche announced that its supervisory board’s nomination committee would accept Wynaendts as a new member at its annual general meeting on May 19 next year.

“It is intended that he will then be elected to succeed Paul Achleitner as chairman,” the bank said in a statement. Deutsche said the move “must be approved by the plenary supervisory board”. People familiar with the matter told the FT that the bank has formally discussed Wynaendts with the regulator. The ECB declined to comment.

The incoming president began his career in 1984 at Dutch lender ABN Ambro as an intern in the capital markets department and later worked in various roles within the bank. private equity and investment banker before joining Aegon in 1997. Wynaendts has been a non-executive director at Citigroup since 2019 but will step down from that role when he joins the German rival. He is also a board member of Air France-KLM and Uber.

“I am looking forward to joining this leading European financial institution,” Wynaendts said, calling the nomination a great honor. He said it was his strong belief that Deutsche Bank was “well-placed to meet the growing needs of its global customer base”.

Mayree Clark, the supervisory board member in charge of finding Achleitner’s successor, said the upcoming chair has a proven track record in the financial services industry, has a deep understanding of technology and has worked with regulatory agencies on both sides of the Atlantic.

Achleitner said that Wynaendts “has absolutely the right personality and skills to ensure a continuing trusting working relationship between both boards of directors at Deutsche Bank.”

German regulators and policymakers expect the chairman of Deutsche Bank to be fluent in German. Wynaendts, who hails from the Netherlands near the German border, has solid German skills and wants to improve them further, according to a person familiar with his thinking. He is planning to move his main office to Frankfurt, where the bank is headquartered.

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