COO ousted as shake-up continues at Deutsche Bank

Chief operating officer Kim Hammonds.
Chief operating officer Kim Hammonds.PHOTO: REUTERS

FRANKFURT • The chaotic shake-up at Deutsche Bank has sent more aftershocks through the bank's top ranks as its chief operating officer was ousted and its head of investor relations quit.

Chief operating officer Kim Hammonds, who reportedly called Deutsche Bank "the most dysfunctional company" she had ever worked for, will leave "by mutual agreement" at the annual general meeting on May 24, the Frankfurt-based lender said late on Wednesday.

Earlier, the bank announced that Mr John Andrews, head of investor relations for five years, was leaving because of the management changes.

Their exits came days after Mr Christian Sewing took over as chief executive from Mr John Cryan amid a sustained slump in the share price and questions about the direction of Europe's largest investment bank.

Mr Sewing's appointment was the third major change at the top of Deutsche Bank in six years, and followed weeks of intense speculation about Mr Cryan's future while chairman Paul Achleitner stayed silent. Mr Marcus Schenck, co-head of the securities unit, also left as the firm debates how big a role it wants to play in global investment banking.

"The way Achleitner replaced the CEO was unprofessional and damaging for everyone involved," Mr Klaus Nieding, vice-president of shareholder advisory DSW, said by phone before the announcement of Ms Hammonds' exit. "But Hammonds' demise is of her own making. She shouldn't have made those comments," he added, referring to her controversial remarks at an internal event last month.

Chief operating officer Kim Hammonds, who reportedly called Deutsche Bank "the most dysfunctional company" she had ever worked for, will leave "by mutual agreement" at the annual general meeting on May 24.

Ms Hammonds had been tasked with bringing the bank's information technology costs down and streamlining the number of operating systems. But concerns about slow progress have led to scepticism among supervisory board members and management that she is the right person, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month. Her standing was hurt further when reports surfaced about her disparaging comments. Ms Hammonds has not disowned the remarks since they became public.

"Kim Hammonds has been a breath of fresh air, bringing an outsider's perspective with deep experience in transformational change," Mr Achleitner said in a statement.

The bank will appoint a new COO "in the near future", after consulting regulators, it added.

BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2018, with the headline 'COO ousted as shake-up continues at Deutsche Bank'. Print Edition | Subscribe