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Swiss banker abandons chairman ambition

Josef Ackermann, the Swiss CEO of Deutsche Bank, has withdrawn his candidacy to become chairman of its board of directors after failing to win shareholder backing.

The move ended a month-long battle for the future leadership of the bank. The chairman role will be now filled by Paul Achleitner, German insurer Allianz’s chief financial officer, Deutsche Bank said.

Ackermann, who also chairs the global banking lobby group Institute of International Finance, steps down as CEO in May 2012 after nine years in the job. He will be replaced by co-CEOs Anshu Jain, head of investment banking, and Juergen Fitschen, in charge of regional management.

Ackermann said in a statement on Monday that the current situation in the financial markets and the political-regulatory environment required his full attention, and that he would not have enough time to hold talks with shareholders to promote his bid for chairman. He needed 25 per cent of shareholder votes for the move.

The Financial Times newspaper reported that his decision “fuelled speculation” that he would jump to UBS, although executives at the Swiss bank ruled him out as a candidate for any post.

Also on Monday, prosecutors in Munich said police had searched offices of Deutsche Bank’s board of directors, including Ackermann’s, as part of an investigation into false testimony and trial manipulation.

A Deutsche Bank spokesman called the allegations “unfounded” and condemned the prosecutors’ move as disproportionate.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR