Commerzbank names Deutsche Bank’s Manfred Knof as new CEO

BERLIN (AFP) – Commerzbank, Germany’s second largest bank which has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the Wirecard scandal, on Saturday named Manfred Knof from rival lender Deutsche Bank as its new chief executive.

The appointment is a bid to end turmoil after Martin Zielke resigned at the start of July, following sustained criticism by shareholders of his performance and the bank’s losses.

Knof, 55, was Deutsche Bank’s German retail head but spent a large part of his career in the insurance business, working for German giant Allianz. Knof’s appointment is subject to the approval of supervisory authorities.

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

“He brings the necessary expertise and human leadership skills for the tasks that lie ahead of the bank.”

The German government holds 16 per cent stake in the bank which it bailed out after the 2008 financial crisis.

Commerzbank notched up a EUR175 million loss over the “single case”, which according to the Financial Times were loans made to payments provider Wirecard, which collapsed in June in what Germany’s finance minister had described as an unparalleled scandal.

Wirecard filed for insolvency in June after admitting that EUR1.9 billion (USD2.2 billion) missing from its accounts did not exist.

Commerzbank’s latest appointment is a bid to end turmoil after Martin Zielke resigned at the start of July 2020, following sustained criticism by shareholders of his performance and the bank’s losses. PHOTO: AFP