Used to turmoil, Dutch trader Wynaendts prepares for Deutsche chairmanship

By Tom Sims and Frank Siebelt

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – As the head of Dutch insurer Aegon, Alexander Wynaendts has led a complex European financial institution with staff around the world and a strong American presence during a turbulent decade, an experience that should well be his serve as the next chairman of German Deutsche Bank.

On Friday, a committee of Deutsche Bank’s supervisory board appointed Wynaendts to oversee Germany’s largest lender from next year. The entire board backed him at a meeting on Sunday, and shareholders will vote on his appointment in May.

If elected, the post will catapult Wynaendts, who is relatively unknown in Germany, into a role as one of the country’s top bankers at a time when Deutsche also stabilizes after a difficult decade in preparation for a possible future merger. .

The chief executive of Deutsche Bank, in a note to staff on Sunday revealing full board support for Wynaendts, called the Dutchman a true European and expert in international finance.

“Alex has experience in the areas that have always made a difference with Deutsche Bank: strong expertise in retail, corporate and capital markets as well as asset management – and a global network,” said Sewing said in the note, which was seen by Reuters.

Just months after his tenure at Aegon, a company that in the mid-19th century helped the Dutch pay for funerals, Wynaendts, 61, sailed in a $ 3 billion bailout and state restructuring. euros ($ 3.39 billion) as the 2008 financial crisis wreaked havoc.

Deutsche has lost billions of euros and faced huge fines, leaving regulators concerned that it was on the verge of collapse five years ago. Although he has started to reap small profits under new management, there is still a lot of unfinished business.

The bank is currently working on a new strategic plan to be presented in March and has yet to deliver on its promise to cut 18,000 jobs, while analysts say it risks missing a key profitability target next year.

A major issue for the whole industry is the consolidation of fragmented banks in Europe. Deutsche executives have said they are working to bolster the lender for a possible tie-up after calling off talks to merge with rival Commerzbank in 2019.

Wynaendts – who has overseen a steady stream of acquisitions, divestitures and partnerships from Canada to Mexico and Romania to China for a decade at the helm of Aegon – is expected to adopt the strategy.

Aegon was involved in 87 M&A transactions from 2012 to 2020, based on data from Refinitiv.

He will also be well aware of the challenges of low interest rates and volatile markets, which affected Aegon’s capital position towards the end of his tenure with the company. Aegon’s shares fell sharply during his tenure due to the financial crisis and pandemic.

Wynaendts would succeed Austria’s Paul Achleitner, another former insurance executive who previously worked at Allianz, when he resigns in May. Achleitner is credited with installing current CEO Christian Sewing to help turn the bank around after a number of management reshuffles during his decade at the helm.

In addition, Deutsche announced Sunday that it had occupied the post of risk director, by poaching Olivier Vigneron from Natixis in France.

($ 1 = € 0.8859)

(Reporting by Tom Sims and Frank Siebelt; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Jane Merriman and David Evans)


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