Deutsche Bank Taps Career Insider Kuhnke for Key Operations Role

(Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Bank AG will replace outgoing Chief Operating Officer Kim Hammonds, hired from Boeing with great fanfare, with a home-grown veteran of 30 years’ service.

The bank said Tuesday it has named Frank Kuhnke to oversee technology and central operations. Kuhnke was most recently COO of Deutsche Bank’s private and commercial bank, where he reported to Christian Sewing. He’ll continue to report to Sewing in the latter’s new role as chief executive officer. Unlike Hammonds, Kuhnke won’t have an executive board seat of his own.

Deutsche Bank Taps Career Insider Kuhnke for Key Operations Role

“In his tenure at Deutsche Bank of more than three decades Frank Kuhnke has proven that he is strong at taking decisions and executing them,” Sewing said in the press release announcing the appointment.

Kuhnke’s appointment is the latest development in a broad shakeup this month at the top of Deutsche Bank that cost the jobs of Hammonds, former CEO John Cryan and deputy CEO Marcus Schenck. The shakeup came after the supervisory board led by Chairman Paul Achleitner, under pressure from investors, lost patience with Cryan’s efforts to turn the bank around.

Achleitner attracted criticism for his handling of the appointments and faces a motion for his ouster from a small but high-profile activist investor at the bank’s annual shareholder meeting in May. Earlier Tuesday, Deutsche Bank issued an updated agenda saying its board supported Achleitner “without reservation” and called on shareholders to reject the motion, along with another to split up the bank along business lines.

Hammonds, who reportedly called Deutsche Bank “the most dysfunctional company” she’d ever worked for, agreed to leave shortly after. Both English-speaking executives have now been replaced with two German natives who have been with the company almost uninterruptedly since they joined as apprentices in the 1980s. Schenck, meanwhile, was replaced at the head of the investment bank by the South African Garth Ritchie.

Kuhnke inherits a half-finished job from Hammonds, who had been tasked with making the bank’s IT systems cheaper and more manageable. Hammonds had defended her record earlier this year by saying she had cut the number of operating systems within the group to 32 from 45. However, Cryan had given her the mandate of cutting that number to only four back in 2015.

Deutsche Bank is also continuing to hire externally, despite increasing expectations that Sewing will act to shrink its investment bank before long. It emerged on Tuesday that Karim Moussalem will join the bank as head of equities trading for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

After over a decade at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. where he co-headed the Delta One trading desk, Moussalem had helped set up hedge fund Verrazano Capital with Guillaume Rambourg. Rambourg returned Verrazano’s funds to investors in 2017. According to media reports earlier this year, Moussalem had been planning to launch a new hedge fund. He declined to comment Tuesday.

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