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Business

Markets rejoice at Deutsche Bank CEO change

Deutsche Bank shares outperformed weaker European stock markets on Monday in a sign that investors welcome the leadership change at Germany's biggest lender. The bank's co-CEOs Jain and Fitschen resigned on Sunday.

Shares of European financial giant Deutsche Bank soared nearly 8 percent in early trading on the Frankfurt stock exchange Monday, the day after its co-chief executives, Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen, announced their resignations.

Deutsche shares surged to almost 30 euros ($33.4) on Monday, after Jain said he would quit his post at the end of June. Fitschen will follow him after the bank's annual shareholders' meeting in May next year.

The surge in the stock of Germany's biggest lender is also a sign that investors welcome the appointment of John Cryan as Deutsche Bank's next chief executive.

Cryan, a 54-year-old Briton, was head of the global financial institutions advisory group at UBS before he was elevated to the role of Chief Financial Officer of the Swiss banking giant in September 2008. He was appointed to Deutsche's supervisory board in 2013.

John Cryan wird neuer Chef der Deutschen Bank

Cryan joined the bank's supervisory board in 2013

Cryan faces the difficult task of moving Deutsche Bank beyond the raft of regulatory and legal probes that have plagued the bank under its current management and execute a strategic overhaul.

Stuart Graham, analyst at Autonomous investment firm, said Cryan would review the size and scale of the investment bank with a "much harsher lens."

"The execution risk is higher than normal at Deutsche, but so,too, is investors' unhappiness. We therefore expect the shares to outperform, at least for the next few months, on the back of this cathartic management change," he told the Reuters news agency.

Scandals galore

Jürgen Fitschen and Anshu Jain took the reins of the bank with the promise of ending a string of scandals, improving its image and making the institution more profitable. But three years later the results are still not where shareholders want them to be and the bank's legal troubles have not gone away.

Germany's largest lender is mired in around 6,000 different litigation cases and was last month fined a record $2.5 billion for its involvement in an interest rate-rigging scandal.

In mid-May, the bank confirmed it had opened an internal probe into its investment division in Russia, with the German press speaking of possible money laundering. According to the reports, the case involved some $6 billion in transactions over four years.

Moreover, Fitschen is facing charges of lying in court after allegedly giving misleading testimony in the Kirch trial, which Deutsche Bank settled with a payment of about 900 million euros to the family of the former German media mogul.

Restructuring incomplete

In April, the two former co-CEOs unveiled a restructuring plan aimed at changing Deutsche Bank's expensive universal banking model in an attempt to scale back unprofitable business lines to boost earnings and shore up its balance sheet.

The plan is intended cut costs by an annual 3.5 billion euros by 2020 and generate a return on equity of at least 10 percent in the same period.

But the strategy was the less radical of two options considered by Deutsche's board and investors viewed it as unambitious. At the bank's annual shareholder meeting two weeks ago, 39 percent of the capital represented voted against the management board and some investors called for Jain and Fitschen to go.

uhe/ng (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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