(Bloomberg) -- Commerzbank AG supervisory board members are likely to propose Hans-Joerg Vetter as new chairman, turning to a retired regional bank executive to fill a power vacuum atop Germany’s second-largest listed lender.
The bank’s nomination committee is meeting on Friday and could agree on suggesting Vetter as lead candidate, according to people familiar with the matter who asked for anonymity.
His appointment would then have to be approved by the entire supervisory board at a meeting on Monday, the people added, cautioning that no final decision has been made and the plans could still change.
A Commerzbank spokeswoman declined to comment.
Chief Executive Officer Martin Zielke and Supervisory Board Chairman Stefan Schmittmann in early July announced they were stepping down amid increasing criticism by the bank’s second-largest investor, Cerberus Capital Management. The biggest shareholder, the German government, accepted the resignations.
Vetter, who turns 68 in August, was CEO at regional lender Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg from 2009 until his retirement in 2016. If elected, he would have to navigate potentially conflicting demands of shareholders including Cerberus and the government, who have seen the value of their stake erode, and labor representatives who have vowed to fight large-scale job cuts.
Commerzbank has said it will appoint a new board member once Schmittmann leaves the governance body on Aug. 3 and then appoint one board member as the new chair. Zielke has said he’ll leave by the end of the year or when the lender has found a new CEO.
The internal frontrunner to take Zielke’s place is corporate clients head Roland Boekhout, though Chief Financial Officer Bettina Orlopp is seen as a potential alternative, people familiar with the matter have said. The bank is also considering external candidates for the post, Bloomberg has reported.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.