Georg Thoma is to resign from Deutsche Bank’s supervisory board after coming under fire from other board members in a battle over how to deal with the German bank’s past scandals.
The veteran corporate lawyer was brought on to the board by chairman Paul Achleitner in 2013 and headed the integrity committee, whose remit includes overseeing the bank’s efforts to comply with legal and regulatory requirements.
However, Mr Thoma’s approach left him at odds with some colleagues, and on Sunday, Alfred Herling, Deutsche’s vice-chairman, took the unusual step of publicly criticising his actions in Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
Mr Herling accused Mr Thoma of “overzealousness”, saying that he “goes too far when he demands ever wider investigations and more and more lawyers come marching up”, and adding that the costs were “no longer proportionate”.
Meanwhile, Henning Kagermann, the former head of German software group SAP who is also a board member at Deutsche, told the newspaper that “for all the diligence that we have exercised, it is important for us that Deutsche Bank finally . . . devotes all its energy to looking to the future”.
Deutsche said in a statement that Mr Thoma would resign immediately from his role as chairman of the integrity committee and leave the supervisory board after a one-month notice period. The bank has begun the search for a permanent successor.
Mr Achleitner said Mr Thoma had given Deutsche “outstanding service” during his time on the board. “He has implemented processes of great importance and benefit to the bank. The supervisory board is determined to continue its work of investigating possible misconduct and to draw lessons for the future,” he said.
Mr Thoma did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The boardroom spat comes just three weeks before Deutsche’s annual shareholder meeting on May 19, at which the bank’s supervisory board is likely to come under scrutiny.
He has implemented processes of great importance and benefit to the bank
– Paul Achleitner on Georg Thoma
One small shareholder has requested a special audit of whether members of Deutsche’s supervisory board or management board breached their obligations in how they dealt with some of the bank’s legal entanglements.
The motion requests that the audit ascertain whether there were management failings in relation to a number of investigations, including the Libor scandal.
Among other things, it requests an investigation into whether Deutsche had to pay heavier fines because members of its management or supervisory board obstructed, misled, or failed to co-operate sufficiently with authorities.
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