Deutsche Bank is urging it's staff to get behind beleaguered CEO Josef Ackermann as he awaits trial on charges of 'breach of trust' for his role in signing-off on the bonuses paid to departing Mannesmann executives at the time of the Vodafone takeover in 2000. Ackermann was on the Mannesmann management board, which approved the $66m payments, at the time.
Ackermann is due to stand trial starting 21st January and the case could last for up to a year. The proceedings will be held before a panel of five German judges in Dusseldorf on Wednesdays and Thursdays each week.
The bank has urged Deutsche's staff to get behind the boss and has sent a 'talking points' memo out to them to help with client questions about the affair. The memo said that the 'group board and supervisory board are confident that the ongoing management of Deutsche Bank will not be negatively affected by the demands of the court proceedings......The awards (payments to departing executives) were made in recognition of outstanding value creation for Mannesmann shareholders. They were presented to the relevant committee within Mannesmann AG, were supported by major shareholders and were approved by the board of Vodafone. Dr Ackermann experienced no personal gain from these awards'.
Germany's financial regulator, BaFin, has expressed no concern about Ackermann continuing in his Deutsche role for the duration of the trial. The country's finance minister, Hans Eichel, is also thought to have expresed his support.