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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank's (DBKGn.DE) restructuring plan claimed its first management casualty when its retail chief Rainer Neske decided to quit after the group chose to split up and sell chunks of his domain, including Postbank DPBGn.DE, German media reported.
Neske, the computer scientist who has worked at Deutsche for 25 years, will leave after losing an internal strategic debate that will see his responsibilities shrink, newspaper Handelsblatt reported in its Tuesday edition.
Neske's departure comes as the bank braces for a tumultuous annual shareholder meeting on Thursday, where it faces discontent over lagging profits, hefty fines and a strategic revamp criticized by some as offering too little, too late.[ID:nL5N0Y92SZ]
During the strategic debate, Neske sought to have the group bundle all of its retail activities into one operation to be sold on the stock exchange, a move that would have seen Deutsche assume a business model resembling Goldman Sachs.
But facing pressure from employees, politicians and supervisors, Deutsche opted for a smaller revamp, keeping its own-branded retail network and selling Postbank instead.
The decision had huge consequences for Neske. Losing Postbank from his empire means losing 14 million clients, 15,000 employees and about 50 billion euros in deposits.
In addition, the group is expected to disassemble its own-branded network outside of Germany, selling operations in countries like Italy or Portugal.
Deutsche Bank's supervisory board will discuss the departure of Neske on Wednesday, Handelsblatt wrote, citing unnamed sources in the finance industry.
He will be replaced by Christian Ricken, the chief operating officer for the group's retail operations, viewed as Neske's right-hand man and No. 2 in the retail division, Spiegel Online reported.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment.
To cut costs and improve performance, the bank announced a plan in April to reduce up to 150 billion euros ($170 billion) in investment bank assets, sell Postbank and invest more in equities trading and wealth management. [ID:nL8N0XO0DB]
($1 = 0.8842 euros)
Reporting by Andreas Cremer, Kathrin Jones, and Thomas Atkins; Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Gopakumar Warrier