Commerzbank CEO Shakes Up C-Suite In His First Month

Commerzbank, CEO Manfred Knof, restructuring, germany

A month into his new role and a day after announcing an aggressive revamp strategy, Commerzbank’s new CEO Manfred Knof is moving around the senior leadership team and planning role reductions, Bloomberg reported on Friday (Feb. 12).

Germany’s second-largest bank is planning to cut jobs directly below the management board, according to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg, and executives affected by the changes have already been informed.

A separate memo indicated that Stephan Muller, divisional board member of transaction banking, has already given notice that he will leave the bank by April, Bloomberg reported.

Before anything is official, the staffing changes have to be reviewed by labor representatives for the bank. Commerzbank anticipates that a framework agreement will be finalized prior to the May 5 annual general meeting. All personnel restructuring is targeted for completion by the end of this year.

The staff reductions are a key tenet of Knof’s strategy to overhaul Commerzbank and cut costs, something his predecessor Martin Zielke was unable to accomplish.

Commerzbank said in November that it was preparing for widespread SMB bankruptcies due to the economic fallout of the pandemic. Bettina Orlopp, Commerzbank’s chief financial officer, said the new restrictions would negatively affect the holiday shopping season.

The bank’s Chief Risk Officer Marcus Chromik told a parliamentary committee in the ongoing Wirecard case last month that the bank was a victim of Wirecard fraud. Commerzbank agreed to extend credit to Wirecard in 2018 based on assurances about the company’s prospects.