April 2, 2012 / 6:40 PM / 7 years ago

Germany's DekaBank fires CEO after spat over bonus

FRANKFURT, April 2 (Reuters) - Germany’s savings bank association fired the head of its fund management arm DekaBank on Monday, citing disagreements over pay.

The move highlights the deep split over bonuses and an increased willingness by unlisted public-sector savings banks to flex their muscles over some regional lenders that harboured global ambitions.

Franz S. Waas was relieved of his responsibilities at DekaBank with immediate effect following “differences of opinion about retroactive bonus demands for the years 2008 and 2009,” German savings bank association DSGV said in a tersely worded statement on Monday.

Waas could not be reached for comment.

The DSGV took control of DekaBank in April 2011, buying a 50 percent stake from the Landesbanken, public sector banks such as HSH Nordbank, WestLB and SachsenLB that stumbled badly during the financial crisis.

After years of subsidising the activities of the Landesbank sector, savings banks have been more assertive about ending the Wall Street-style ambitions of some of these regional lenders.

In 2009, the savings banks refused to grant guarantees to save WestLB, which was struggling to avoid meltdown after another attempt at international expansion backfired.

Waas has been in charge at DekaBank since 2006 and helped deliver record earnings in three of those years. He started his career at Bayerische Vereinsbank, which was later absorbed by HVB, which in turn was bought by Unicredit.

Sources familiar with the matter say Waas clashed with key members of the DSGV, which is headed by Heinrich Haasis.

Oliver Behrens will be installed as acting DekaBank chief executive, DSGV said.

Germany’s savings banks have become more assertive about pushing a conservative approach to risk and pay in Europe’s largest economy.

Germany has 2,000 banks, while Britain has just 405, Spain 415, Italy 785, Ireland 590 and France 1,147, according to European Central Bank statistics.

Data from the central bank, the Bundesbank, show that Germany’s big two, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank , have to compete with 1,200 cooperative banks, 438 municipally-owned savings banks, and 10 Landesbanks — regional banks which belong to their respective governments and whose main purpose is to support the region’s economy. (Reporting By Edward Taylor, Philipp Halstrick and Kathrin Jones; editing by John Wallace)

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