Deutsche Bank shareholders set to pressure chairman

Wed May 18, 2016 1:13am EDT
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By Arno Schuetze

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank's DBKGn.DE chairman faces sharp criticism at the bank's annual general meeting on Thursday, as shareholders consider launching an investigation into management's response to scandals that have cost it billions of euros in fines.

The meeting will give investors, infuriated by shrinking profits and a dramatic fall in the bank's stock price, an opportunity to challenge Paul Achleitner's actions since he took over as chairman in 2012.

Shareholder advisory groups ISS and Glass Lewis have recommended investors back a shareholder motion for a probe into whether fines for wrongdoing were higher at Deutsche because management obstructed or misled investigators.

Last year, the United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority fined Deutsche for the manipulation of lending benchmarks Libor and Euribor, saying it had increased the penalty because the bank had 'repeatedly' misled it.

The meeting also comes weeks after the sudden resignation of a non-executive director at Deutsche, Georg Thoma, who was investigating earlier scandals but left after coming under public fire from fellow directors for being overzealous.

"I want to know what substance these allegations have," said Klaus Nieding from retail investor association DSW.

One large investor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that although shareholders were unlikely to demand the chairman go immediately, it was possible that Achleitner could leave later this year.

"Achleitner will likely prevail at this year's AGM, but I would not be surprised if he is replaced some time later this year," the investor said.   Continued...

Scratches are seen on the logo of Germany's Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach