Deutsche Bank names Alexander Wynaendts as next chairman

Deutsche Bank AG said it picked Alexander Wynaendts, an outsider with experience in insurance and banking, to be its next chairman.

Mr. Wynaendts, a 61-year-old Dutchman, was the chief executive officer of Dutch insurer Aegon NV for 12 years through 2020. He began his career at lender ABN Amro NV, where he spent 13 years in private and investment banking in Amsterdam and London, Deutsche Bank said in a statement Friday.

Mr. Wynaendts currently sits on the board of Citigroup Inc., Uber Technologies Inc. and Air France-KLM. He will step down from the Citigroup position, the statement added.

He will succeed longtime chairman Paul Achleitner, who has led the company’s supervisory board for nearly decade. Mr. Achleitner’s tenure as chairman has coincided with a long period of poor performance, strategic uncertainty and management upheaval at the bank. Mr. Achleitner has overseen four different chief executives.

Deutsche Bank shares have fallen more than 50% since Mr. Achleitner became chairman, weighed down by massive regulatory fines and repeated capital raisings. The bank remains under the watchful eye of regulators in the U.S. for persistent shortcomings in anti-money-laundering controls, The Wall Street Journal reported in May.

Deutsche Bank repeatedly ran into problems with authorities on both sides of the Atlantic under Mr. Achleitner’s watch.

In 2016, its shares under pressure from investors, the International Monetary Fund called the German bank the riskiest financial institution in the world, and the Fed flunked it on its annual stress test for the second year in a row.

The next year, Deutsche Bank paid $629 million to end investigations by U.K. and New York regulators into so-called mirror trades, transactions Deutsche Bank executed for clients to help them transfer $10 billion out of Russia in violation of anti-money-laundering laws. The bank said at the time it cooperated with authorities. A monitor appointed to oversee that settlement remains in place.

In 2020, the New York Department of Financial Services fined Deutsche Bank a further $150 million over its dealings with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and other lapses. Deutsche Bank said at the time it learned from its mistakes in the case.

Also hanging over Deutsche Bank was its longtime role as lender to former President Donald Trump, which put the bank in the middle of political fights and congressional investigations.

A Deutsche Bank spokesman declined to comment on the past troubles but pointed to better performance of the bank’s shares over the past two years and recent credit ratings upgrades.

Deutsche Bank has been able to find firmer ground under an overhaul led by Chief Executive Christian Sewing, who took over in 2018. Under the plan, the bank radically pulled back from its Wall Street presence against the likes of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. It exited from its equities business in the U.S. and promised sharp cost cuts and a stronger focus on serving corporate customers in Germany.

The bank has been posting better-than-expected results in the past quarters, thanks in part to its investment-banking business that boomed during the pandemic amid the market volatility. The bank has also benefited from being based in Germany, whose government spent hundreds of billions of euros to keep the economy afloat.

Mr. Wynaendts “has vast experience in the financial industry and an excellent network, not only in Europe but also globally,” Mr. Sewing said.

Deutsche Bank said it would propose Mr. Wynaendts for election to the bank’s supervisory board at the annual meeting in May next year. Once that happens, he will be elected as chairman.


This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text

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