Weidmann should become the head of the supervisory board: the right one for Commerzbank?

Status: 11/21/2022 10:14 am

There are signs of a spectacular change at the top of the Commerzbank supervisory board: ex-Bundesbank boss Weidmann is to become chief controller at the partially nationalized bank. What do you think of it?

Is Weidmann the right person to chair the supervisory board at Commerzbank? Volker Brühl, Managing Director of the Center for Financial Studies at Frankfurt’s Goethe University, is skeptical: “A former central banker does not necessarily have the profile of a supervisory board chairman at a major bank,” Brühl wrote on Twitter.

Skepticism also in the comment of the “Wirtschaftswoche” – headline: “A real banker would have been good for Commerzbank”. What speaks for Weidmann, on the other hand, is that he has excellent connections both in Frankfurt and in political Berlin. And he could again ensure more consistency at the top of the Supervisory Board of Commerzbank, because there have been several personnel changes in the bank’s supervisory body in recent years.

Four supervisory board heads within three years

In the summer of 2020, the then chief controller Stefan Schmittmann gave up after clear criticism from the US financial investor Cerberus. The former Landesbanker Hans-Jörg Vetter followed, but for health reasons he had to resign in spring 2021.

Surprisingly, Commerzbank hired the cooperative banker Helmut Gottschalk as his successor. The fact that Gottschalk’s relationship with Commerzbank CEO Manfred Knof is considered tense, according to media reports, because the chairman of the supervisory board interferes too much in day-to-day business could be another reason for the renewed change at the top of the supervisory board.

According to the money house, the 71-year-old incumbent chairman of the supervisory board has decided for reasons of age not to stand as a candidate at the annual general meeting at the end of May next year.

Investors can hope for a dividend

Commerzbank recently cut thousands of jobs and closed hundreds of branches. After losing billions in 2020, the money house is now back in the black. In the current year, the board is aiming for a profit of more than one billion euros.

Shareholders are to receive a dividend for the 2022 financial year for the first time since 2018. Commerzbank has been partially nationalized since the financial crisis.

With information from Jan Plate, ARD stock exchange studio

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