Anshu Jain is now virtually certain to be named co-chief executive of Deutsche Bank, following a meeting of senior directors over the weekend, according to bank insiders. The choice of his co-chief executive, however, remains uncertain.
Deutsche’s nominations committee – a three-man subgroup of the bank’s supervisory board – met on Sunday to approve a proposal that chief executive Josef Ackermann should be succeeded by two co-chief executives: Mr Jain, the London-based head of Deutsche’s thriving investment banking business, and German head Jürgen Fitschen.
Mr Fitschen has the support of Clemens Börsig, chairman of both the supervisory board and nominations committee, and of Tilman Todenhöfer, another member of the committee. But Werner Wenning, the former Bayer chief executive who is the third member of the committee, is understood to be uncertain about Mr Fitschen’s suitability for the job.
For many investors, however, the decision about who fills that role is far less important than the confirmation that Mr Jain, an Indian national who has spent most of his career in the City of London, will in effect lead the German bank’s global operations.
Despite a largely impressive track record building on Deutsche’s historic strengths in fixed income, Mr Jain has long struggled to convince the German contingent at the bank that he would be an effective chief executive.
In recent months, however, the mood in Frankfurt has shifted, partly as it became clear that Mr Jain, who is now learning German as part of a charm offensive, had few suitable challengers from inside the bank.
Deutsche declined to confirm whether a meeting of the nomination committee had indeed taken place on Sunday, noting that even if it had, the bank would not comment on such internal discussions.
The succession planning process has dragged on for more than a year and has become increasingly acrimonious in recent weeks, particularly after the appointment of Axel Weber, the former Bundesbank president whom Mr Ackermann had suggested should be hired either as chairman or chief executive, as chairman of Swiss rival UBS.
The Jain-Fitschen double-act now needs to be approved by two other bodies, the president’s committee and the supervisory board. However, people familiar with the process said that Mr Fitschen’s candidacy could well be upset on the grounds that he is nearly 63 and that, as an executive whose background lies within Mr Jain’s ambit, he would not provide a good balance of business experience.
That argument may also apply to Hugo Bänziger, the chief risk officer, who is another potential candidate for the job. That would leave Rainer Neske, the retail banking boss who has impressed investors with his management of Deutsche’s acquisition of Postbank.
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