FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) gave more power to co-chief executive Anshu Jain in a management shake-up that was roundly criticized by investors on Thursday who demanded more changes to restore confidence in the leadership of Germany’s largest bank.
The bank removed some executives and re-arranged responsibilities before the annual shareholder meeting, putting Jain in charge of a reorganization and cost-cutting despite being under fire for missing previous targets.
Only 61 percent of shareholders at the meeting voted in favor of Jain and Fitschen’s 2014 performance in a non-binding vote. Last year they received 89 percent.
Making Jain directly responsible for cutting Deutsche Bank’s costs by 4.7 billion euros ($5.2 billion), selling its Postbank DPBGn.DE retail business and paring back its investment bank puts huge pressure on the former trader.
“Jain now has 12 to 18 months to deliver,” said one top-20 shareholder.
A mover and shaker in financial capitals and an engaging conversationalist in private, Jain’s inability to speak German means he often appears awkward at shareholder events, dominated by small and sometimes vociferous investors.
He gave a long speech in English on Thursday but to meet German law, which requires shareholder meetings be conducted in German, Jain’s microphone was turned off to run a German voice-over, prompting giggles from some in the audience.
Jain landed the top spot at Deutsche in 2012 after the investment banking division he ran consistently delivered up to 85 percent of group profit and frequently outperformed peers.
But tougher regulatory requirements and litigation, including a $2.5 billion fine to settle allegations that Deutsche traders rigged benchmark interest rates, have taken the shine off a division often referred to internally as “Anshu’s army”.
Deutsche’s decision to stick with a costly universal banking model offering everything from mortgages in Germany to derivatives in London has hampered its performance in the post-financial crisis era.
Some investors said a restructuring plan unveiled last month to axe unprofitable business lines was too little, too late.
Shareholder adviser Hermes Equity Ownership Services said on Thursday that Achleitner’s rejig, made at a supervisory board meeting on the 34th floor of Deutsche’s Frankfurt headquarters on Wednesday night, had not gone far enough.
“We ask the supervisory board to further examine the construction of the management board and to pursue further changes,” Hermes’ director Hans-Christoph Hirt said.
Fitschen was hired as co-CEO to maintain the bank’s German profile but his ability to sell the group’s strategy to domestic shareholders has been impaired by his own legal problems.
He is required to appear every week at a criminal court in Munich to defend himself against allegations that he misled investigators in a dispute with the heirs of the Kirch media empire.
In the reshuffle, Fitschen ceded control of the division that is unwinding Deutsche’s unwanted assets to Stefan Krause, who orchestrated the bank’s recent strategic review.
Krause, who is due to hand his chief financial officer title to fellow board member Marcus Schenck, has also been put in charge of overseeing the growing transaction banking division, an important part of the group’s new strategy.
The bank will also seek to make Krause the supervisory board chairman of its Postbank unit which it aims to reform before selling by the end of 2016.
Shares in Deutsche have fallen more than 6 percent since the new strategy was made public, underperforming a 1 percent rise in the STOXX index of European banks .SX7P over that period.
“I think that management changes offering a clean record and fresh ideas would be required before we see any meaningful re-rating in the share price,” Jupiter Financials Fund manager, Guy de Blonay, said. “However, new management would require another capital increase and a significant clearing of the decks.”
Under the revamp, Deutsche’s retail banking boss, a senior executive in Asia and the head of the British business are all to leave the bank.
Additional reporting by Sinead Cruise; writing by Carmel Crimmins; Editing by Louise Ireland