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Business

Axe set to swing on scandal-plagued head of Germany's HSH Nordbank

The major stakeholders in one of Germany's nine state-owned banks, HSH Nordbank, has asked for its chief, Dirk Jens Nonnenmacher, to be replaced. Nonnenmacher was recently implicated in a spying scandal at the bank.

The HSH Nordbank logo

The bank has had serious financial problems

The axe appears to be about to fall on the head of one of Germany's powerful state banks, HSH Nordbank, after the lender's major shareholders asked its supervisory board to give scandal-plagued CEO Dirk Jens Nonnenmacher the sack.

Nonnenmacher's tenure as HSH chief was thrown into doubt after he was implicated in allegations of spying at the state-controlled bank. The 47-year-old has also been investigated by prosecutors over risky investments that led to the bank losing millions of euros.

HSH Nordbank's biggest investors, the states of Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, have reportedly asked the bank's supervisory board chairman Hilmar Kopper to begin proceedings to find a new CEO for the lender.

In a written statement, the state governments said Nonnenmacher's dismissal was necessary to "win back lost trust" in HSH, whose main commercial focus is on shipping, transportation, real estate and renewable energy.

Dirk Jens Nonnenmacher

Nonnenmacher has been in the post for around two years

Kopper said the supervisory board "took note" of the request by the state governments. However, a decision will likely have to wait until at least the next board meeting on December 2.

"[Nonnenmacher] will continue with his duties for the time being with the necessary energy and reliability," Kopper said Tuesday.

Nonnenmacher's contract at the bank runs until October 2012. A trained mathematician, he worked for several private banks before joining HSH Nordbank in 2007. He became chairman in November 2008, succeeding Hans Berger.

HSH Nordbank is currently emerging from a financially rocky period brought on by the global financial crisis. Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein were forced to provide the bank with 3 billion euros ($4.18 billion) in capital and 10 billion euros in guarantees.

The bank also received around 17 billion euros in guarantees from the federal government's Soffin bank rescue fund.

Author: Darren Mara (dpa, AFP)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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