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Doing things the Commerzbank way has rarely failed Germany’s second-largest lender. That’s why there haven’t been any government bailouts, billion-dollar quarterly losses, prosecutorial raids, tax evasion strategies, CFOs running screaming into the arms of Danske Bank (of all places), difficulty with money laundering controls or being left at the altar by Deutsche Bank (of all places). So you can totally understand why they’d stick to such a winning formula in defiance of the wishes of its meddling, American second-largest shareholder.

The bank is going through an overhaul centered around job cuts and branch closures to improve its profitability. Cerberus, which holds more than 5% of Commerzbank, has called for even deeper cuts. Its urgency comes amid a dismal performance by the bank’s stock, which was trading above €10 when Cerberus disclosed its stake in mid-2017 and is now at €4.45….

Mr. Vetter will replace Stefan Schmittmann, who along with Chief Executive Martin Zielke announced their resignations early last month…. While the resignations seemed to be a victory for Cerberus, the appointment of Mr. Vetter isn’t. As the German press started reporting his likely pick over the weekend, Cerberus sent a letter to Commerzbank’s board on Sunday saying it had “serious doubts that Hans-Jörg Vetter is the right person for this job or has the right experience for it.”

Commerzbank Appoints New Chairman, Defying Big Investor Cerberus [WSJ]



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