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Deutsche Bank chairman to stand down in 2022

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank’s chairman Paul Achleitner said he intends to step down when his term ends in 2022, heralding a new era at Germany’s largest lender as it struggles to become profitable.

FILE PHOTO: Chairman of the board of Deutsche Bank Paul Achleitner in Frankfurt, Germany, May 23, 2019. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

His announcement, made to shareholders at the bank’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, was the first time he has publicly said he would not seek a third five-year term.

Achleitner, one of Europe’s most prominent bankers, has faced criticism from some shareholders for the bank’s strategy zig-zags, management upheaval, and an 80% share price decline over the past decade.

In an effort to reverse five years of losses, Deutsche Bank is currently undergoing a major overhaul that includes streamlining its investment bank and cutting 18,000 jobs globally. The coronavirus crisis has upended its operations and cast doubt on its profit goals.

“I won’t seek re-election. After 10 years in this role, it has to be enough,” Achleitner said.

Glass Lewis, a leading shareholder advisory group, has called on investors to vote against ratifying the chairman’s actions for the past year at the shareholder meeting, citing “performance” concerns.

Achleitner also faces for a third year in a row a vote to remove him from his post, a process he survived by a wide margin in past years.

A former partner of Goldman Sachs and finance chief for Allianz, Achleitner has been in search of a successor, people with direct knowledge of the matter have said.

The bank’s supervisory board has recently expressed continued support for him.

Separately, Deutsche’s chief executive Christian Sewing dismissed shareholder concerns the bank would need state aid to cope with the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

He said the bank needed to become more profitable before taking a leading role in European banking consolidation.

Reporting by Tom Sims, Patricia Uhlig and Hans Seidenstuecker; Editing by Michelle Martin, Jane Merriman and Jan Harvey