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Germany

Deutsche Bank extends CEO's contract amid first-quarter profits

Deutsche Bank chief Josef Ackermann has agreed to another three years at the helm, while the bank made good on disastrous 2008 figures by posting impressive first quarter profits.

Deutsche Bank chief Josef Ackermann

Deutsche Bank chief Josef Ackermann rarely fails to surprise people

Deutsche Bank AG, Germany's biggest bank, has extended the contract of chief executive Josef Ackermann by three years to 2013.

"The Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank unanimously decided to request that Dr. Josef Ackermann should extend his contract by three years, until the Annual General Meeting of 2013," Germany's biggest bank said in a statement.

Ackermann, who in February announced he would step down as scheduled in 2010, agreed to the surprise extension, which is to be formally ratified at a board meeting on July 28.

Ackermann doing the victory sign with his right hand

Many Germans were angered by Ackermann's complacency during his 2004 corruption trial

The Swiss national is a controversial figure in Germany. As one of the highest-paid executives in the country, he famously came under fire after a photo was taken of him making a victory-sign with his fingers at a corruption trial in 2004 in which he was acquitted.

As the financial crisis started to hit global markets, critics accused the 61-year-old of being too proud and stubborn because in contrast to other banks the manager persistently rejected state aid, saying Deutsche Bank was strong enough to pull out of the crisis by itself.

And indeed, the extension of Ackermann's contract is backed by surprising first quarter profits, which the bank released on Tuesday.

"Dr. Ackermann has given Deutsche Bank strong strategic positioning and steered the bank safely through the crisis," Clemens Boersig, chairman of the supervisory board, said in a statement. "Our performance in the first quarter 2009 is impressive evidence of this," he added.

The Frankfurt-based bank said net profit for the January-March period came in at 1.2 billion euros (1.56 billion dollars). Revenue increased by 57 percent to 7.2 billion from 4.6 billion euros compared to the first quarter last year. The upturn was mainly due to good business in the investment banking sector which had posted severe losses last year.

The skyline of Frankfurt's financial district

Deutsche Bank has rejected state aid to pull through the financial crisis

In 2008, Deutsche Bank suffered a record net loss of 3.9 billion euros (5.3 billion dollars), its first loss since the bank assumed its present form in 1956. But the bank has said it can overcome the global financial crisis without state aid.

Deutsche Bank is the latest global bank to report solid first quarter results, along with Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse, giving a glimmer of hope that the financial crisis could slowly be getting over the worst.

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