No stranger to the unrest that Dutch dealer Wynaendts put in front of the Deutsche chair

The headquarters of Germany’s Deutsche Bank are pictured in Frankfurt, Germany, September 21, 2020. REUTERS / Ralph Orlowski / File Photo

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  • Alexander Wynaendts oversaw the bailout and agreements as CEO of Aegon
  • Takes over the helm at a crucial time for Germany’s largest lender
  • Wynaendt is a true European with a global network, says the CEO in a note
  • Deutsche Bank steals risk manager from Natixis

FRANKFURT, November 21 (Reuters) – As head of the Dutch insurance company Aegon, Alexander Wynaendts led a complex European financial institution with employees around the world and a large American presence during a turbulent decade, experience that should serve him well as the next chairman in the German Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE).

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

If elected, the position will catapult Wynaendts, who is relatively unknown in Germany, to a role as one of the country’s leading bankers at a time when Deutsche is also stabilizing after a rocky decade with a view to a possible future merger.

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The CEO of Deutsche Bank, in a note to employees on Sunday, in which he rejected the entire board’s support for Wynaendts, called the Dutchman a real European and expert on international finance.

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

Just months into its period in Aegon (AEGN.AS), a company that in the mid-19th century helped the Dutch pay for funerals, Wynaendts, 61, navigated a state rescue package and restructuring of 3 billion euros (3.39 billion dollars) as the financial 2008 crisis took its toll.

Deutsche has lost billions of euros and faced huge fines, which makes regulators fear that it was on the verge of collapse five years ago. Although it has begun to reap small profits under new management, there are still many unfinished business.

The bank is currently working on a new strategy plan to be presented in March and has not yet fulfilled its promise to lose 18,000 jobs, while analysts say it risks missing an important profitability target next year.

A major issue for the broader industry is the consolidation of Europe’s fragmented banks. Deutsche executives say they are working to make the lender strong for a potential future bond after halting talks to merge with rival Commerzbank (CBKG.DE) in 2019.

Wynaendts – who oversaw a steady stream of acquisitions, divestitures and partnerships from Canada to Mexico and Romania to China over a decade as head of Aegon – is expected to embrace the strategy.

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

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

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Wynaendts would take over from Austrian Paul Achleitner, another former head of insurance who previously worked for Allianz (ALVG.DE), when he resigns in May. Achleitner is credited with installing current CEO Christian Sewing to help turn the bank around after a series of management changes during his decade at the helm.

Separately, Deutsche announced on Sunday that they had filled the role of risk manager by poaching Olivier Vigneron from French Natixis. read more

($ 1 = 0.8859 euros)

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Reporting by Tom Sims and Frank Siebelt; Edited by Kirsten Donovan, Jane Merriman and David Evans

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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