Commerzbank poaches Deutsche Bank’s Knof as new CEO

Commerzbank AG annual results news conference in Frankfurt
FILE PHOTO: A company logo is pictured at the headquarters of Germany’s Commerzbank AG during the annual results news conference in Frankfurt, Germany, February 13, 2020. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

September 26, 2020

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German lender Commerzbank <CBKG.DE> has poached a senior executive of its larger rival Deutsche Bank <DBKGn.DE> to assume the role of chief executive, filling a leadership vacuum after months of turmoil.

Manfred Knof, head of Deutsche Bank’s retail business in Germany, will assume the top spot at Commerzbank on Jan. 1.

He succeeds Martin Zielke, who resigned this summer in the wake of a revolt led by the private equity investor Cerberus, one of the lender’s largest shareholders.

The appointment allows Commerzbank to move forward with a new strategic plan that was put on hold until a new leader was found. The bank is looking at branch closures and shedding international staff to save costs.

Knof will assume office subject to approval from its regulator, the European Central Bank.

Knof is an “experienced and highly effective top manager who has proven himself in a wide range of tasks in the financial services industry”, said Hans-Joerg Vetter, chairman of Commerzbank’s supervisory board.

Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank had been in merger talks last year but called them off.

(Reporting by Edward Taylor and Tom Sims; Editing by Alison Williams and Christina Fincher)

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