Deutsche's Jain wins support of bank's top labor leader

Fri May 29, 2015 9:31am EDT
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote) co-Chief Executive Anshu Jain won welcome support from the group's top labor representative on Friday, who said a Frankfurt-based workers council acted alone when it called for Jain's resignation this week.

One works council representing employees in key administrative functions in the bank’s Frankfurt headquarters on Thursday demanded Jain resign as Germany's largest lender prepares to slash jobs.

But Alfred Herling, the No. 2 ranking supervisory board member after Chairman Paul Achleitner, said the corporate centre works council was one of around 40 autonomous works councils and did not speak for the group.

“This didn’t happen with the agreement of the general- or group-wide workers council, and it doesn’t have to. As such, neither does it reflect the view of all the works councils in our bank,” Herling, who is paid by Deutsche Bank, told Reuters.

German works councils can be loud opponents to management strategy, such as job cuts, but they yield little real power on the supervisory board, the highest oversight body that directly oversees management and chooses chief executives.

Thursday's incident, however isolated, reveals battle lines forming between management and staff, mainly in the bank’s extensive retail branch network, as Jain leads a strategy that promises to slash 4.7 billion euros in costs by 2020, largely through job cuts.

The bank plans to close some 200 out of 700 of its own-branded retail branches and sell off its independently branded Postbank DPBGn.DE chain.

Jain was made directly responsible for reforms and cost cuts in a boardroom shake-up last week that saw co-CEO Juergen Fitschen lose some of his responsibilities.

Shareholders chastised management last week for lagging profits, soaring fines and sluggish reforms and called on management to whip the bank into shape and revive a lagging share price.   Continued...

Anshu Jain, co-CEOs of Deutsche Bank, addresses the bank's annual general meeting in Frankfurt, Germany, May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach