October 29, 2014 / 12:14 AM / 3 years ago

Deutsche Bank reshuffles board to sharpen legal focus

Logos of Deutsche Bank AG are seen in Tokyo July 16, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) reshuffled and expanded its management board by naming a Goldman Sachs banker as chief financial officer and creating a new board role to sharpen the bank’s focus on resolving a long list of lawsuits and investigations.

The reshuffle will add two members to the seven-member board, with auditing head Christian Sewing moving to the board as the new chief of Legal and Incident Management on Jan. 1.

Marcus Schenck, the London-based Goldman Sachs investment banker and former and finance chief at German energy group E.ON (EONGn.DE) will replace current CFO Stefan Krause on May 21.

Until then, Krause will also take charge of strategy on Nov. 1 in a second, newly created board seat.

“We are taking this step now in order to increase our focus on the resolution of litigation matters and to further increase our organizational efficiency and effectiveness,” Co-Chief Executive Officers Jürgen Fitschen and Anshu Jain said in a statement.

Deutsche Bank has cut costs and lifted operating profit in a turnaround plan launched in 2012, but the threat of further penalties from alleged misconduct weighs on its share price and casts doubt on management’s claims of success.

The bank also faces additional legal risks as regulators in the United States, Germany and the UK pursue investigations into possible attempts at interest-rate and forex-benchmark manipulation, high-frequency trading, possible violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran and other activities.

With the threat looming of fines and settlement costs, as well as European banking stress tests year, Germany’s largest lender raised 8.5 billion euros in June to strengthen its balance sheet.

The bank originally hoped to resolve the legal issues in 2014 but has said that most of the investigations are likely to be concluded in 2015.

Deutsche Bank will report group earnings on Wednesday and is expected to show that rising legal costs ate into an otherwise robust quarter.

RESHUFFLE

Operations chief Henry Ritchotte will relinquish his strategy mandate to Krause but remain chief operating officer while assuming on new duties for leading the bank’s investments into technology to improve efficiency and reporting standards.

Krause, who joined from luxury auto maker BMW (BMWG.DE) in 2008, ushered Deutsche Bank through major capital hikes and the depths of the global financial crisis, and most recently through the ECB stress tests, which Deutsche Bank passed by a wide margin with negligible corrections to its accounts.

“My job isn’t just balancing the books. A CFO also has to think strategically,” Krause was quoted by newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung online as saying. The strategy board seat adds one more head to the Deutsche board.

But Krause has also come under fire following criticism from U.S. regulators for shoddy regulatory reporting, weak technology and inadequate auditing and oversight, which the bank later addressed in part by hiring 500 U.S. staff.

Schenck joined E.ON, Germany’s biggest energy group, in 2006 as chief financial officer from Goldman Sachs and then switched back to investment banking for Goldman in London in 2013. He worked at consultancy McKinsey before moving to Goldman in 2001.

“He’s got a really big sense of humor and is easy to work with. He doesn’t hide stuff or act territorial,” said one former colleague who declined to be named. “He belongs to the good old Goldman Sachs culture.”

Reporting by Thomas Atkins and Arno Schuetze; Editing by Christoph Steitz, William Hardy and Richard Chang

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