Josef Ackermann has bowed out as Deutsche Bank’s boss receiving a standing ovation from shareholders at the annual meeting. Juergen Fitschen and Anshu Jain will replace him.
In his farewell address Ackermann launched a veiled attack on Greece and the risks its instability is posing to the eurozone and economic growth.
He spoke of concerns over “the lack of will to carry out reforms in a few eurozone countries”.
“With geopolitical uncertainties, this could impact the recovery of the global economy over the course of the year. Against this background and the ongoing regulatory debate, financial market activity remains muted,” Ackermann added.
Sewage and pigs
Outside the venue for the meeting, activists from anti-globalisation group Attac clad in black, red and gold full-body nylon suits – the colours of Germany’s flag – protested against Deutsche Bank’s trading of commodities and role in global finance.
Two characters dressed in grey suits and slicked back hair performed a rap song, “Am I a fat pig banker or should I let it lie?” before a long trail of sewage was emptied in front of the entrance.
Inside Ackermann tried to remain upbeat, reminding shareholders that Deutsche Bank had come through the financial crisis without taking state aid and underlining the “high quality” of Deutsche’s business model.
While Ackermann ran Deutsche, the bank transformed itself from being heavily dependent on lending to German business into a global player with investment banking, wealth management and retail banking operations.
Deutsche’s more international footprint and its focus on investment banking prompted fears the bank could neglect its German roots, a factor which led to the appointment of German corporate banker Juergen Fitschen to work alongside India-born investment banker Jain.