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Some major Deutsche Bank investors want chairman to go early - sources

FILE PHOTO: Deutsche Bank's Supervisory Board Chairman Paul Achleitner addresses the audience during the bank's annual meeting in Frankfurt, Germany, May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

By Tom Sims

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - At least three major investors in Deutsche Bank want Chairman Paul Achleitner to step down early amid discontent with the bank's turnaround, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

Achleitner, whose term expires in 2022, is due to face investors at the bank's annual general meeting on Thursday.

A spokesman for Deutsche Bank declined to comment, both on behalf of the bank and Achleitner.

The sources did not want to identify the three investors, and while they do not have the power to push through management change on their own, their calls are a sign of the pressures facing Germany's biggest bank after years of failed turnarounds.

In recent years, Deutsche Bank has been plagued by failed regulatory tests, ratings downgrades, big fines and management reshuffles. It posted its first profit in four years in 2018.

Achleitner's record of installing executives and overseeing the lender has been chequered, said one of the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Deutsche Bank shares hit record lows on Monday and Tuesday, but were trading 0.4% higher by mid-afternoon in Frankfurt. They are down 36% since investors last year's shareholder meeting.

The bank was already facing a potential rocky ride at this year's gathering after two advisory groups to shareholders - Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis - urged them to issue a vote of no confidence in management.

One small but vocal investor last month added to the meeting's agenda a vote to oust Achleitner because the bank "remains trapped in an unbroken downward spiral".

In response, the supervisory board last month said it had full confidence in Achleitner. Last year, a similar effort to force out the chairman garnered just 9.05% of the vote.

Achleitner, an Austrian financier who previously sat on the board of German insurer Allianz and headed Goldman Sachs in Germany, became Deutsche's chairman in 2012.

Achleitner's supporters argue he took decisive action last year when he ousted John Cryan as chief executive officer and installed Christian Sewing in his place.

Union Investment, a fund manager that holds shares in Deutsche Bank, will vote in favour of management on Thursday, a portfolio manager told Germany's Handelsblatt.

ISS said in its report earlier this month that Achleitner had failed to turn around the bank and its finances and reputation had arguably further deteriorated from a year ago.

But the advisory firm recommended investors should vote to keep Achleitner without a clear alternative to succeed him.


(Reporting by Tom Sims; Editing by Michelle Martin and Mark Potter)