Cerberus gives up revolt at Commerzbank

Commerzbank logo in front of the headquarters

After the unanimous election of the future chairman of the supervisory board, the major shareholder Cerberus probably does not plan any further actions for the time being.

(Photo: REUTERS)

Frankfurt After the election of Hans-Jörg Vetter as the new chairman of the supervisory board Commerzbank should calm down in the dispute with the American investor Cerberus for the time being. “The election result for Mr. Vetter was very clear and we accept the decision. Cerberus will not fight windmills, ”said the US financial investor on Tuesday.

According to insiders, Vetter was elected unanimously and without abstentions on Monday and thus also with the support of the wing of the supervisory board. On Tuesday, the Frankfurt district court also formally appointed Vetter to the supervisory board, as a spokeswoman for the institute confirmed on request.

The election of a new head of the supervisory board at Commerzbank had become necessary because the previous incumbent Stefan Schmittmann had resigned from his position on August 3 after Cerberus’ severe criticism of the bank’s management board and supervisory board. CEO Martin Zielke also wants to leave the bank by the end of the year.

In Berlin, people are satisfied with Vetter’s successful choice. Finally, Jutta Dönges, the head of the federal finance agency, a supervisory board appointed by the federal government led the search for candidates. “As the largest shareholder, the federal government welcomes the fact that a proven banking expert with great transformation experience has been found in Mr. Vetter,” government officials said. The federal government is sticking to a strong and sustainable Commerzbank.

Dönges had not consulted the critical US investor, who holds a good five percent of the shares in Commerzbank, when searching for candidates – much to his annoyance. “What happened yesterday was not a brilliant achievement in the German investor landscape,” said the Americans. Cerberus will now take no “obstructive measures” such as suggesting its own opposing candidate to the competent court. That is not the kind of Cerberus, one always goes constructively, it said. Cerberus will work with Vetter.

Vetter is considered a renovation expert

In the run-up to Schmittmann and Zielke’s double resignation, there were still intensive contacts between Jörg Kukies, State Secretary for Finance, and Cerberus representatives. The Federal Ministry of Finance had thus received the accusation of letting Cerberus do the “dirty work” at Commerzbank.

Vetter is considered a reorganization expert because he led Bankgesellschaft Berlin and Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) in difficult phases. Cerberus, however, denied him the experience needed to restructure Commerzbank.

Other institutional investors, who did not want to be named, had viewed Vetter’s election positively. “Vetter would be a veritable head of the supervisory board. He did a good job at LBBW and put the bank on a sound footing, ”says a major investor who has a stake in Commerzbank.

More: Portrait of Hans-Jörg Vetter: As chief inspector at Commerzbank, the restructuring expert has to take on a strong major investor.


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