Crisis at HypoVereinsbank as Two Executives Quit | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 07.11.2005
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Crisis at HypoVereinsbank as Two Executives Quit

HypoVereinsbank, the second-biggest German bank, was in crisis on Monday with the shock resignation of two further executives in the wake of the takeover by Italian banking giant UniCredit.


HVB has lost three top managers since the Unicredit merger was announced

The head of HVB's German activities, Christine Licci, and the head of the corporates and markets division, Stefan Jentzsch, had "asked the supervisory board to terminate their contracts," the bank said in an internal letter to employees of which AFP obtained a copy.

"I accept these personal decisions, even if I cannot understand them at the current juncture," chairman Dieter Rampl wrote in the letter. The resignations "will not have any influence on our plans to make the merger of HVB and UniCredit a success," Rampl added.

News of the departures had been made public earlier by HVB's general works council.

The resignation of Licci meant that HVB's private customer business had now seen six different management teams in the past four years, the council complained in a statement. And Jentzsch's decision to throw in the towel was even more surprising, since he had been tipped to head the investment banking division of the merged UniCredit-HVB group, it said.

Shirking responsibility?

Both Licci and Jentzsch had voted in favor of the takeover by UniCredit.

Alessandro Profumo (l) und Dieter Rampl (r) Die italienische Großbank UniCredito will die Münchner HypoVereinsbank (HVB) für gut 15 Milliarden Euro übernehmen

Unicredit CEO Alessandro Profumo (l.) and HVB's CEO Dieter Rampl need to find loyal help

"Now they're quitting without making clear why. We would have expected them to live up to their responsibility," the council said.

Licci was quitting after only a year in office. Media reports said her decision was a result of differences with UniCredit over the future expansion of the private customers business. The 41-year-old, who had made a name for herself in the past as former head of the Citibank's German activities, had been the only female board member in a German bank.

Jentzsch, aged 44 and a former head of Goldman Sachs in Germany, reportedly quit because UniCredit chief Alessandro Profumo wanted to cut the investment banking activities. Media reports suggest he could be head-hunted by rival Dresdner Bank and there were concerns high-profile investment bankers could move with him.

Last month, the former chief of HVB's Austrian arm Bank Austria, Gerhard Randa, took his hat. And shortly afterwards, the head of HVB's supervisory board Albrecht Schmidt, who had been opposed to the tie-up with UniCredit, followed.

Media reports suggested that more resignations could follow, including that of real estate division head Johann Berger.

Investors appeared unnerved by the personnel changes and at around midday on the Frankfurt stock exchange, HVB shares were showing a loss of 0.50 euros or 2.02 percent at 24.27 euros in a generally softer market.

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