Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, October 3, 2023


Commerzbank shareholders pave way for Jens Weidmann as chairman

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -Commerzbank shareholders on Wednesday cleared the way for the economist Jens Weidmann to take over as chairman of the German lender, the fifth person to occupy the role over the past six years.

Weidmann, the former president of Germany’s central bank, was voted onto the bank’s supervisory board with 99.2% of the shareholder votes at Commerzbank’s annual general meeting.

The bank has said that Weidmann would assume the chairmanship after election to the board.

Commerzbank, one of Germany’s best known banks and partially held by the government after a bailout more than a decade ago, is in the middle of a major overhaul, slashing its workforce and branch network to restore profits.

Like many banks, it is benefiting from a rise in interest rates and the income that generates.

Weidmann will succeed Helmut Gottschalk, who assumed the job in 2021 when his predecessor fell ill. The previous chair left in an investor revolt.

Some shareholders used their speeches at Wednesday’s meeting to praise the selection of Weidmannn to the role.

Deka’s Andreas Thomae said that Weidmann would use his “international and regulatory experience and vision to guide Commerzbank into the next phase of sustainable growth”.

Alexandra Annecke, a portfolio manager at Union Investment, challenged Weidmann, who was present at the meeting, to “keep an eye on costs and be uncomfortable for the management board at times”.

Weidmann quit the Bundesbank in 2021 after a decade of opposition to the European Central Bank’s then aggressive stimulus policy of sub-zero interest rates and massive government bond purchases.

(Reporting by Tom Sims and Frank Siebelt; Editing by Jan Harvey, Kirsten Donovan)


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