Commerzbank names chairman candidate despite Cerberus doubts

Commerzbank names chairman candidate despite Cerberus doubts

Reuters  | Aug 03, 2020 17:11

Commerzbank names chairman candidate despite Cerberus doubts

By Tom Sims and Hans Seidenstuecker

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Commerzbank (DE:CBKG) has confirmed Hans-Joerg Vetter, retired chief of a regional bank, is a candidate to become its chairman, rebuffing concerns about his qualifications voiced by top investor Cerberus.

The bank's board was convening on Monday afternoon to discuss the candidacy and an announcement is expected later in the day. The bank said the board had not yet made a decision to elect Vetter and gave no further detail.

The election of Vetter to the chair would help fill a leadership vacuum at Germany's No. 2 lender, but would risk further rankling Cerberus, the U.S. private equity firm that holds a 5% stake in the bank and has launched a campaign for change.

Commerzbank had not previously named any possible candidates but two sources familiar with the matter had last week told Reuters Vetter was being considered.

Cerberus, the second-largest investor in Commerzbank after the government, said in a letter to the bank's supervisory board dated Aug. 2 that it had grave concerns about Vetter and that it had its own names to pitch for the job.

In the letter, Cerberus said the new chair must help initiate and support a "necessary, far-reaching restructuring" at the bank.

"We have serious doubts that Hans-Joerg Vetter is the right person for this job or has the right experience for it," Cerberus said in the letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters. A spokeswoman for Commerzbank declined to comment.

Commerzbank was thrust into turmoil last month when CEO Martin Zielke and supervisory board chairman Stefan Schmittmann said they would step down to give the bank a fresh start.

The resignations followed the public campaign for change by Cerberus, which has seen a slump of about 60% in the value of Commerzbank shares since buying its stake in 2017.

The 150-year-old lender has in recent months swung to a loss, halted its 2019 dividend plans, backtracked on the sale of its Polish lender mBank (WA:MBK) and suffered credit rating downgrades.

Vetter is a former chief executive of Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg. His supporters say he has restructuring and retail banking experience from his time at the Landesbank and previously when he was CEO of Bankgesellschaft Berlin.

"Cerberus has identified at least two candidates who have the required qualifications to fill the role of chairman and secure the confidence of all key stakeholders," Cerberus said, without naming them.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People walk past a branch of Commerzbank in Berlin

The new chair is expected to lead the search for a new CEO.

Related News

Latest comments

Add a Comment
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Write a reply...
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.

Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.

English (USA) English (India) English (Canada) English (Australia) English (South Africa) English (Philippines) English (Nigeria) Deutsch Español (España) Español (México) Français Italiano Nederlands Português (Portugal) Polski Português (Brasil) Русский Türkçe ‏العربية‏ Ελληνικά Svenska Suomi עברית 日本語 한국어 简体中文 繁體中文 Bahasa Indonesia Bahasa Melayu ไทย Tiếng Việt हिंदी
Sign out
Are you sure you want to sign out?
Saving Changes


Download the App

Get free real time quotes, charts and alerts on stocks, indices, currencies, commodities and bonds. Get free top of the line technical analysis/predictors. is better on the App!

More content, faster quotes and charts, and a smoother experience is available only on the App.