Deutsche Bank under pressure to find replacement for Paul Achleitner as chairman

The European Central Bank has asked Deutsche Bank a number of times in recent months to name a successor to chairman Paul Achleitner as the end of his term nears, Reuters reported on Friday morning.

Achleitner is due to retire next May after 10 difficult years in office that saw two changes of CEO, billions of euros of losses and huge fines.

The 64-year-old has survived three shareholder votes on whether to oust him but said he will go next year.

With less than a year to go, the bank's supervisor, the ECB, is still waiting for Deutsche to identify a successor and has ratcheted up pressure on Germany's biggest bank and its chairman in recent months.

The ECB's chief supervisor Andrea Enria has addressed this question multiple times in ongoing high-level communication with the bank, said one of the people, who is an official with direct knowledge of the matter.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment.

Deutsche has recently returned to profit but remains under the close watch of regulators who guard the health of the global financial system, of which the bank, as one of the world's biggest lenders, is a critical part.

In particular, they have been concerned by lapses in Deutsche's money laundering controls - a problem that extends back throughout Achleitner's tenure.

In a major setback for Deutsche, Germany's financial watchdog BaFin in April ordered it to enact further money laundering safeguards and extended a mandate for a special monitor to keep track of progress.

The ECB is making the repeated demands because it wants Achleitner to leave in an orderly fashion, with the central bank having enough time to vet the candidate to replace him, the people said.

Reuters reports that three people familiar with the bank's search for a successor said there was a shortlist of three German men, with one adding that Deutsche would be ready to announce a successor by February or March next year. Such a late date would leave little room for manoeuvre if the candidate were to fall through.

The three said that German stock exchange chief Theodor Weimer was the preferred candidate.

Weimer, however, has publicly dismissed the idea saying earlier this year that his taking the post was "not at all a topic of discussion". A spokesperson for Weimer declined to comment further.

It is unclear whether Weimer could change his mind. His contract as CEO of Deutsche Boerse was extended last year to 2024. Regulators would not approve his keeping both posts, the official with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Furthermore, accepting the position at Deutsche Bank would require him to resign from a job that paid him €6 million last year.

Also in the running, the three people said, are Norbert Winkeljohann, an accountant and chair of Bayer, and Frank Witter, a new board member who was until recently Volkswagen's finance chief.

Winkeljohann did not respond to a request for comment and Witter declined to comment.

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