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Business

Deutsche Bank Supervisory Board Chief Steps Down

Germany's largest bank said the chief of its supervisory board would relinquish his position in May. Rolf Breuer made his decision following his involvement in a legal battle with former media magnate Leo Kirch.

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Rolf Breuer has said he will step down from the board

In a statement published Sunday, Breuer said he had told the supervisory board he had made his decision to step down as a result of a federal court ruling in January against Deutsche Bank in a legal battle with Kirch media.

Deutsche Bank said Breuer wanted to "protect the bank from further discussion about him."

"The supervisory board took note of this with regret and expressed its respect and admiration for Dr. Breuer in light of his decision," the bank said.

Chief Financial Officer Clemens Börsig has been nominated to succeed Breuer from May 3. Anthony Di Iorio will then become CFO and Hugo Bänziger will join the board as Chief Risk Officer, the bank announced.

Uncomfortable court ruling

The Federal High Court ruled in January that the Deutsche Bank had contravened its contractual obligations towards one of Kirch's companies, PrintBeteiligungs GmbH, and was therefore liable to pay damages. The judges said the bank was not responsible for the collapse of the entire Kirch group.

Leo Kirch

Leo Kirch, founder of the bankrupt Kirch Media

The court urged both sides to try and reach an amicable settlement in the long-running legal spat that dates back to February 2002, when Breuer, then the bank chairman, publicly questioned the credit-worthiness of the Kirch group in a television interview.

The former media magnate argues that Breuer's comments directly led to the collapse of his debt-laden media empire, which finally filed for insolvency later that year.

Deutsche Bank and Breuer counter that Kirch's financial problems were already publicly known and Breuer's comments came under personal freedom of expression.

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