Former Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann is to develop into chair of Commerzbank subsequent 12 months, the German lender introduced on Saturday in a shock transfer that marks an important vote of confidence in a financial institution that has lengthy been seen as a takeover candidate.
Weidmann, a broadly revered economist and former prime adviser of then-chancellor Angela Merkel, resigned as the pinnacle of Germany’s central financial institution final 12 months after a 10-year stint.
Commerzbank stated Weidmann could be “proposed . . . as a brand new member of the supervisory board” at its annual shareholder assembly in Might subsequent 12 months, including that he “may also be out there as chair of the supervisory board, if he’s elected”.
The financial institution stated that the transfer was backed by the German authorities, which is the most important shareholder with a 15.6 per cent stake because it bailed out Commerzbank through the monetary disaster greater than a decade in the past. Weidmann, who was Merkel’s key financial adviser within the chancellery in Berlin on the time, was one of many architects of the rescue.
Commerzbank has been in a long-running disaster after it merged with struggling rival Dresdner Financial institution on the peak of the monetary disaster. Shares within the financial institution have fallen by almost 98 per cent since their peak in 2007. The financial institution, which is without doubt one of the largest lenders to Germany’s small and medium sized companies, has additionally been demoted from the nation’s blue-chip index Dax because of its diminished market capitalisation.
Analysts have lengthy seen Commerzbank as a takeover candidate. Home rival Deutsche Financial institution walked away from a merger in 2019 and the Ukraine conflict derailed a possible transaction with Italian lender UniCredit earlier this 12 months.
Commerzbank’s 71-year outdated chair Helmut Gottschalk, whose time period will expire in Might, determined towards looking for one other time period “because of his age”, the financial institution stated on Saturday.
A former chief government of a regional co-operative financial institution after which chair of DZ Financial institution, Gottschalk was known as in from retirement final 12 months after his predecessor Hans-Jörg Vetter resigned with fast impact after simply eight months within the job because of well being causes.
54-year outdated Weidmann would be the fourth chair in three years. Stefan Schmittmann resigned alongside chief government Martin Zielke in an acrimonious boardroom battle in 2020.
Non-public fairness group Cerberus, which on the time held a stake of greater than 5 per cent, had pushed for a administration overhaul because it warned the financial institution’s future was on the road. New chief government Manfred Knof has kicked off a radical restructuring and led the financial institution again to profitability.
“Commerzbank has made nice progress over the previous one and a half years,” Gottschalk stated in an announcement, including that it had “good probabilities for shaping a sustainably profitable future as an impartial power within the German banking market”.
Jens Weidmann declined to remark.